The Institute of Local Government Studies of the University of Potsdam is an interdisciplinary institute for research, training and consultancy in local government affairs. The board of directors consists of 5 professors from different disciplines (business administration, political science, public law). Professor Bauer presently is the director of the institute. Main research areas are:
- theoretical concepts of local government
- legal framework of local government
- modernisation and reform of local government
- local finance
- local government in international comparative perspective
The Institute of Local Government Studies concentrates primarily on problems of local authorities in the five new German Länder (the former GDR). It aims to assist politicians and practitioners to establish a well-functioning administration.
The institute undertakes a number of research projects in the field of local government modernisation, e.g.:
- evaluation of the implementation of "new steering models" in the state of Brandenburg
- legal aspects of the constitutional rule of local self government
- training concepts for local government consultants in technical assistance programs of the German government
- new developments in the field of budgeting and of cost accounting
The institute regularly holds conferences, seminars and workshops on actual questions of local government; some recent topics have been: personnel management in local government, financial management and modern accounting concepts for local government. Participants come from local governments, from state organisations and from academic institutions. Furthermore, members of the institute are busy in teaching students of the different university programs in several fields of local government.
Members of the institute are involved in a number of policy and administrative consultancy processes in several local governments and authorities, primarily in the state of Brandenburg. Some are members in different boards and committees on federal, state and local level dealing with legal and managerial problems of local government.
The institute has a well-equipped documentation center and a library, both specializing in topics of local government. The main focus of research and documentation is local government in Germany. However, the institute is interested in maintaining contacts to institutions in foreign countries with a similar focus.