Local governments own, dispose and use various resources to support their daily duties, such as delivery of public services to the communities and achieve their objectives.
These resources can be different in nature: tangible (i.e. land, laptop or public housing), or intangible (official’s time, intellectual property etc.). The value of these assets varies from low-value resources, such as office supplies and equipment, to high-value assets (land, public housing etc.). Because of their value, they offer numerous opportunities for abusive behaviour.
These assets are easily subject to abuse of powers and consequently, these practices, with weak controls and poor management practices, may turn into a routine habit. Taking out official public resources from offices, use public goods for the aims of a parallel employment or deliberately undervaluing assets to aid a third party, are some of the examples of corruptive practices committed by local officials. In order to avoid any form of misuse of public resources, local governments have to introduce and implement special policies for the management and use of public assets, develop and maintain an updated register of all assets held by the municipality and conduct regular checks to verify inventory in order to report any losses.
Training the relevant personnel on the municipal policies and procedures to raise awareness on the risks of corruption is an important step to guarantee a better public asset management.