Evaluation methodology

The more criteria the municipality meets at the basic, advanced or exemplary level, the higher the level of service it can reach. Keep reading for more information.


sotsiaalfondThe initial version of the service monitoring methodology was developed by the Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS) of the University of Tartu in cooperation with Geomedia OÜ by the end of 2018. More than a hundred experts from ministries and local governments, researchers and interest groups NGOs, and the Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities participated in the creation of the methodology. The development of the methodology was funded from the European Social Fund. See the completed study (only in Estonian). 

The methodology covers 16 areas of which local governments are responsible for: pre-school education, youth work, basic education, housing and heating, mobility, waste management, water management, children’s welfare, social services for adults, public health and safety, crisis management, libraries, sport, culture, museum and governance.

The assessment of the service level consists of the fulfilment of sector-specific criteria, which are assessed at up to three levels: basic, advanced and excellent. The basic level is generally set by thresholds that are mandatory or compliance with the law. The advanced level shows what is generally expected of a successful local government, and the excellent level assesses, for example, the implementation of innovative solutions, the use of additional capabilities and opportunities to increase the benefits of the population, the goals to be achieved. Not all three levels may be set for each criterion. For some criteria, compliance is assessed only at the basic level, for some at several levels, and for others only an excellent level is set to assess whether the municipality is doing something additional. The levels are for example the thresholds from laws and regulations; recommendations from sectoral guidance materials; target levels set in national strategies; thresholds defined in previous studies; proposals from working groups and piloting the methodology and distributions of measurement data.

Evaluating service level

Descriptive graph of methodolgy

The more criteria a municipality meets, the higher the level of service assigned to it is. Service level is the sum of main and additional points.

Main points:
By fulfilling 30% of the basic level criteria, the local government exceeds service level 1, by fulfilling 60% level 2 and by fulfilling 90% level 3. If the basic level is 90%, the fulfilment of advanced level criteria is reviewed accordingly, and if they are at least 90%, the fulfilment of the criteria at an excellent level.

Additional points:
If at the basic level the fulfilment of the criteria is less than 90%, then the local government can still receive additional points separately from both the advanced and excellent levels. It is possible to get 1 extra point from both levels if 50% of the respective criteria are met. If the fulfilment of the criteria at the advanced level is less than 90%, then the local government can still receive 1 additional point for fulfilling 50% of the criteria at the excellent level. Additional points allow all criteria to be taken into account when determining the level of service.


The data used in the assessment is based on national registers, an additional survey conducted among local governments and a national population satisfaction survey. If the national registers provide data for each year, the additional data collection will take place over a year.

An additional survey was conducted among local governments to obtain data that missing from national registers. The survey was conducted by Statistics Estonia in October 2019. In most cases, the additional questions concerned local government development documents, the existence of procedures and the more precise organization of services. Local governments were asked to base their answers on the state of 2018. 

In order to find out the satisfaction of the residents, a survey was conducted in January 2020 with the accuracy of the local government. See more from here.


Municipal groups

Local government income groups are determined according to their tax revenues and environmental fees per capita in the period 2013-2017. If the local government indicator is higher than the Estonian average, then they are "wealthy". However, if the figure is more than 20% below it, they are "low wealth" and intermediate are "moderately wealthy".

The basis for the formation of dispersion groups is the distribution of the population between the centers and sparsely populated areas, based on the mapping of the localities of Statistics Estonia. Statistics Estonia has mapped to single localities the areas, where the distance of neighboring buildings does not exceed 200 meters and at least 200 people live there. According to these data, the central-hinterland indicator is calculated for each local government that is in the range of 1.0-2.1 (center <1.05; center with hinterland 1.05-1.4; partially hinterland 1.4-1.8 and hinterland> = 1.8). These coefficients are also used for allocating the equalization fund to local governments.

Last updated: 17. July 2020