The LILARA Project - Learning in Local and Regional Authorities

Target Sector(s): 
Local/Regional Authority

The LILARA (Learning in Local and Regional Authoritie) Project was a European Commission Lifelong Learning project to assess the needs of Local and Regional Authority Employees for Education about Learning Cities and Regions. It is based on the Total Quality Management principle, used extensively in the most successful companies,that everyone in the organisations needs to be aware of, and to contribute to, the development of a region if it is to work.
Several Audit tools were developed - for city administrations, for regional authorities, for universities and for schools. These act as benchmarks for the knowledge of employees and activators of their interest and their learning. By completing the Audit tools, the respondents become engaged with the process and their own learning needs.
The needs themselves were divided into 12 different topics, each one requiring a self-assignment of priority - low, medium or high for the individual performig his/her role in the authority. These included
1) Basic understanding and awareness of a Learning Region,
2) Organisation and Planning of the Learning Region
3) Wealth Creation, employment and employability in a Learning Region
4) Social Issues, Personal Development, Inclusion etc
5) Educational Issues, CPD, Mentoring etc
6) Resource and Financial Issues for creating a Learning Region
7) Contribution and Participation Issues, Mobilisation of people
8) Political and Democratic Issues, consultation, charters etc
9) Technology Issues, ceating a wired city, using internet
10) Stakeholder Issues, mobilising and engaging organisations
11) Environmental Issues, climate change, ecology, sustainability
12) Cultural Issues, roles of museums, libraries, use of public spaces

Four challenges emerged from the exercise
• Apathy. A perceived relatively low interest among local authority employees – In Stirling only 210 out of 4000 replied to the audit, though this could have also been due to many other factors such as poor communication and/or unfamiliarity with the concept. In other places the percentage was lower.

• Educational volume. Even among the 200 or so who did respond, there emerged a large educational burden which indicates the need for more self-learning materials and new approaches to continuing professional development. EUROlocal is providing some of these.

• Ignorance. A low knowledge of learning city/region concepts among management and a total absence of participation/interest among local politicians

• Closed Mindset. A closed culture in cities and regions that does not lend itself to the acceptance of new ideas and concepts from external sources.

Despite this, those Local and Regional Authorities that are serious about implementing Learning Region concepts could profit enormously from carrying out this exercise with their employees.

The project report is attached to this entry. The audit tools themselves can be seen in appropriate points within the site both as resources (tools) and as examples of good practice.

The two-year LILARA project followed on from the well-commended INDICATORS project which developed 'Stakeholder Audits' for Lifelong Learning Cities and Regions (see 'INDICATORS' project on this website) The project a) developed several Learning Needs Analysis Audit Tools to research the needs for Learning City/Region awareness learning in all departments of Local and Regional Authorities to assist their development as Lifelong Learning Cities, Towns and Regions, b) researched existing learning materials available to satisfy those needs from previous Socrates and other projects c) modified these for delivery in dissemination seminar/workshops in the partners’ local and regional authorities based on the results of the Needs Audits d) developed and delivered new learning materials where satisfactory ones did not exist e) disseminated and marketed all these tools and materials to known city and regional networks through i) the publicity and programme for 2 dissemination conferences, ii) a website specially designed for the purpose iii) papers and articles in network magazines, journals and other publicity media. Target audiences were managers and administrators in local and regional authorities and their stakeholder organisations in the formal and informal learning providers. Five partner workshop/meetings were organised to ensure project harmonisation and to discuss cultural amendments
Each partner worked closely with local and regional authorities to develop a different aspect of the subject, so that the community, the politics, the city as a learning organisation, the stakeholders, social inclusion and general learning city characteristics were covered by the whole project. Once the audits had been agreed they were put into the website ( Respondents replied to the questions online and their responses were analyzed using elite software and distributed to the partners. These formed the basis for the development of learning materials for the workshops, which took place in every partner country.
The outputs disseminated were the Learning Needs Analysis Audits for local and regioanl authorities, schools, universities and small businesses, the website, the seminars and workshops, and the new and modified learning materials, as well as the preliminary and final European conferences
Annexe 1 Executive Summary.pdf47 KB
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