Administrative cooperation

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Administrative cooperation is the generic term for different forms of cooperation between public administrations and regional authorities . The most common types of cooperation are inter-municipal cooperation (cooperation between municipalities) and centralized cooperation. Research into administrative cooperation is the subject of administrative science .


If sub-areas of services of general interest are not provided or no longer provided to the minimum expected extent, local pressure to act arises. Investments that cannot be managed alone can be just as much a motive for communal cooperation as the growing complexity of communal tasks. Planned political action can indicate the need for communal cooperation at an early stage.

For small towns in particular , intermunicipal cooperation is increasingly seen as a solution to adapt to demographic change .

Examples of the scope of cooperation

Frequent application examples are regional development cooperation, tourism , supra-regional business development ( business parks ), infrastructure facilities (schools, leisure facilities, recreational facilities, waste disposal, water supply and sewage disposal, geoportals ). The cost-intensive social, youth and health administration is also open to cooperation. Furthermore, joint municipal services in other sectors can be worthwhile ( fire brigades , rescue services , social welfare associations , kindergartens etc.) and joint system services ( procurement , training and further education, facility management etc.).

In addition to representing interests, a central concern here is regional financial equalization: if a municipality bundles sources of income that should affect an entire region (such as company settlements), or carries special burdens for neighboring municipalities (such as the location of a landfill), the cooperation can provide monetary compensation .

This also includes those communal tasks that the municipality has to take care of for higher-level local authorities, including the state, such as registering citizenship ( population registers , such as birth and death registers) and other data collection for official statistics .

to form

Cooperation between municipalities (inter-municipal cooperation)

Intermunicipal cooperation is the cooperation of local administrations, which can consist either in a contractually regulated mere coordinated procedure or in the creation of a new legal entity to pursue the common interests. Many tasks cannot be performed at all without cooperation, some tasks only with increased financial outlay, with certain tasks by their nature being designed from the outset on the cooperation of several administrative bodies. Certain municipal investments are only worthwhile due to their technically required minimum size if they are supported and shared by several neighboring municipalities ( sewage treatment plants , waste disposal ).

Examples of forms of intermunicipal cooperation are:

All forms exist both as a total cooperation, i.e. also specifically earmarked for individual municipal administrative tasks ( community of interests ).

Parish mergers

The community merger, i.e. the amalgamation of communities, is a special form. In particular, if it is voluntary, it can be viewed as an administrative cooperation. Otherwise, the municipal merger is more of a measure of local government reform . These terms also have different local characteristics. In Switzerland one speaks more of community merger , in Germany of territorial reform. Both terms are used in Austria.

Public-private partnership

The public-private partnership  (PPP) is a special form. The focus here is on the cooperation between business and public administration . It can only be described as administrative cooperation if at least two public administrations are involved.


As a rule, a form of administrative cooperation that is not very institutionalized, there are also comparison rings . Especially common in the field of intermunicipal cooperation and referred to as intermunicipal comparison  (IKV). In projects, the project partners agree on indicators and key figures as well as subject areas for which these should be collected (e.g. childcare). New knowledge should be gained from the comparison and the discussion of differences.


European legal aspects

Art. 10 para. 1 of theEuropean Charter of Local Self-Government ofOctober 15, 1985 guarantees intercommunal cooperation in tasks of common interests. According to this, when exercising their competences, the local authorities have the right to cooperate with other authorities and to form associations with other authorities within the legal framework in order to perform tasks of common interest.

Inter-municipal cooperation is also guaranteed under public procurement law . The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that “a public body can carry out its general interest tasks with its own resources and also in cooperation with other public bodies without being forced to turn to external bodies”. Accordingly, in the case of communal cooperation, the municipalities are generally not obliged to carry out a tender or to obtain offers from private companies. The fundamental ruling of the ECJ gives the municipalities considerable leeway for joint and effective performance of public tasks. Intermunicipal shifts of tasks and responsibilities therefore do not constitute procurement processes on the market that are subject to tendering .

Individual countries


  • Peter Biwald, Hans Hack, Klaus Wirth (eds.): Intercommunal cooperation. Between tradition and new beginnings . NWV, Vienna / Graz 2006, ISBN 3-7083-0368-7 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Antonia Schulitz, Britta Knoblauch: Intermunicipal cooperation of shrinking small towns. Analysis of the opportunities and limits for shrinking small towns in rural areas . AVM - Akademische Verlagsgemeinschaft, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-86306-716-8 .
  2. ^ Thorsten Ingo Schmidt: Communal cooperation. The Zweckverband as the nucleus of public company law . Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2005, ISBN 3-16-148749-4 , p. 18 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  3. ^ Thorsten Ingo Schmidt: Communal cooperation. The Zweckverband as the nucleus of public company law . Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2005, ISBN 3-16-148749-4 , p. 4 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  4. ^ Thorsten Ingo Schmidt: Communal cooperation. The Zweckverband as the nucleus of public company law . Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2005, ISBN 3-16-148749-4 , p. 10 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  5. Contract Law of January 22, 1987, Federal Law Gazette II, p. 65
  6. ECJ, judgment of June 9, 2009, Az .: Case C-480/06