Business Friendly Certification South East Europe establishes a standard for evaluating the business conditions on the state, regional and international levels. The Certification goal is to recognize and promote examples of best practices, encourage quality management in local governments, but also a competition among municipalities in the country and the region in attracting new investments.
Certification of cities/municipalities participating in BFC SEE program is performed based on clearly defined rules and the certification process being successfully implemented in Serbia.
The organization of process is conducted in several phases, and in each of them local governments need to fulfil certain criteria. The condition for obtaining a certificate is to have a more than 75% of all criteria fulfilled.
Time required for a City/Municipality to fulfill the criteria varies from one case to another. The certification process may be seen through these main phases:
Application phase (up to 2 months)
Evaluation phase (up to 3 months)
Implementation phase (up to 5 months)
Verification and certification phase (up to 2 months)
Monitoring phase (after 1 and 2 years from holding the certificate)
Recertification (3 years from holding the certificate)
Main steps in the evaluation phase:
Frequent communication with the City/Municipality (municipal team for BFC SEE named by the Mayor's decision)
Introduction meeting on BFC SEE process
Presentation of BFC SEE certification to local business community
Collection and delivery of documentation by City/Municipality
Two-day evaluation visit
Preparation of evaluation report with recommendations by evaluators
Delivery of evaluation report to City/Municipality
The task of evaluation team is to assess to what extent the criteria are fulfilled in the evaluation phase and to prepare a report with recommendations, clearly defining the status of positive business environment indicators. The analysis and evaluation are performed in the following manner:
Assessment of the existence of certain functions
Assessment of quality of services in City/Municipality
Quality and precision of data and submitted documentation
Assessment of each individual indicator status
Creation of report, comments and recommendations
Defining additional requirements needed for positive evaluation and criteria fulfilment
After presenting the evaluation report, with the evaluation of criteria fulfilment and specific recommendations for improvement, the local government enters the implementation phase. At this stage, it is very important that the evaluator’s recommendations be implemented thoroughly and adequately. The role of partner institution within BFC SEE in the implementation phase is minimal, since the partner institution has no influence. For this reason, City/Municipality identifies additional sources of expert support (donors, consulting companies, regional development agencies) in order to meet the program requirements with technical assistance.
The verification phase is upcoming when the assessment of criteria fulfilment is performed. The verification committee consists of the regional team of experts, involving representatives of institutions, business and civil society with knowledge and experience in the field of municipal business policy.
After the verification, one-day visit the Verification committee develops a report, containing conclusions and assessment marks for the criteria that were lacking in previous phases. This report may be positive or negative, depending on the total level of criteria fulfilment. If the Verification committee report shows that all required criteria for obtaining BFC SEE certificate is fulfilled, the City/Municipality is awarded a Business Friendly Certificate which is valid 3 years. Ceremonial certificate award is organized once a year and is performed with the presence of institutions supporting the entire initiative, as well as business representatives.
After the Certificate award, what follows is intense promotion of certified municipalities.
Monitoring visit is one and two years after the obtaining of the certificate with the aim to confirm continuous application of the BFC SEE criteria.
Three years after the City/Municipality obtained the certificate the City/Municipality will go through the recertification process. Recertification process is almost the same like the certification process where City/Municipality will confirm that they are still operational and business friendly oriented. This phase is estimated on 9 months since municipalities are familiar with the process and already have experience.