ImpleMentoring: concept, and preliminary findings
ImpleMentoring - city-to-city support for migrant integration is a mutual learning project between cities in the field of
integration governance, funded by DG HOME through the European Integration Fund. Led by EUROCITIES, the network of
major cities in Europe, ImpleMentoring will enable European cities to address implementation gaps in migrant integration
policies and practices. It will build on the experience and success of EUROCITIES projects (MIXITIES, DIVE and INTI-Cities) by
shifting the focus from peer reviews and standard-setting towards policy implementation guided by standards and
ImpleMentoring aims to provide city-to-city support through tailored mentoring schemes in four specific areas:
1. Enhancing public perception on migration and diversity (Genoa, Riga,Tampere, Lublin)
2. Managing diversity and promoting equality in cities’ administration and service provision (Copenhagen, Tampere,
3. Making participation effective in diverse neighbourhoods (Dublin, Malmö, Rotterdam, Ghent, Athens, Amsterdam)
4. Engagement in local policy-making processes and political participation of migrant communities (Oslo, Genoa, Milann
In this way it helps them to get closer to European standards of best practice and - in particular - to realise the principles of
EUROCITIES’ Integrating Cities Charter.
ImpleMentoring does this by an innovative learning method. Its strength lies in the interaction between two levels:
• Specific and local: It supports partner cities in carrying out concrete changes in local practice - where goals and standards
are set by a benchmark based on EU-wide experience, and each city undertaking these actions is mentored through the
process of change by a mentor city.
• General and EU-wide: By applying its thematic benchmarks in these ‘real-life’ city actions, ImpleMentoring develops, tests
and validates them so they can be delivered to Europe’s cities and the European Commission as tools for improving practice
EU-wide in future years.
• A revised and tested method: city-to-city learning through mentoring, transferrable to other projects.
• 9 ImpleMentoring visits involving 15 European Cities.
• 4 thematic videos on each ImpleMentoring topic
• One roadmap for each implementing city (on-going)
• Three new toolkits with tried and tested benchmark and examples – to reach out to all European cities and transfer
Mentor city (MC): helps practitioners in the implementing city (IC) to achieve change. It does so partly by drawing on its own
experience, but equally by being a good listener - allowing IC colleagues to explore concerns and develop ideas in confidence
with a trusted partner from outside their own authority. Its mentoring encourages them to see what needs changing; to
identify options for change, and risks; and to move towards the chosen solution.
Implementing city (IC) : aims to improve selected aspects of its work on the relevant theme. The IC works with its mentor to
identify changes it wants to make; plans the action needed to achieve them; and then carries them out. This process of
improvement, supported by the mentor and facilitator, begins with early planning before their visit to the IC. It runs through
the visit and continues to the end of the project, as change gets under way.
Facilitators: advise the MC and IC on how to apply ImpleMentoring methodology to get good results both in specific local
actions and in benchmarking for EU-wide use. They support the MC and IC in building their relationship, and in developing
plans for local change.
Local Support Networks ... in each IC are made up of organisations with an interest in helping the city to improve practice in
the relevant thematic area. They include migrant and ethnic minority associations, business and trade union representatives,
other civil society groups and academic experts. City officials from relevant departments may attend for liaison. Local
Support Network views will inform the city’s analysis of needs and challenges, and its work to identify solutions and to
design a roadmap for change.
ImpleMentoring benchmarks, one for each theme, define the standard which your city must achieve to bring its work into
line with the best practice in Europe. Each benchmark identifies a set of key factors. They are the conditions for success in
your thematic area.
• Firstly, interactive enquiry: to test and develop with local actors the ideas which MC and IC formed provisionally in
• Secondly: to help the IC to prepare the ground locally for change.
• Thirdly: to draft the roadmap or action plan showing how the IC will achieve that change.
ImpleMentoring is a new way to foster collaboration and mutual learning between cities: this is a development of the tried
and tested peer review method to move a step closer to implementation. How did it work in practice?
1. The model is validated: great interest for cooperation before, during and after the visit. Cities still have things to learn
from each other but are keen on exploring new ways of mutual learning.
• The concept was well developed and conceptualised but the project is a dynamic process where feedback is
important and allows for “learning-by-doing”. Preparation is a key: we need months of desk research / more
interviews during the visit / time to validate findings afterwards.
• Even cities considered as very advanced in terms of integration policies still feel the need to learn and improve their
practice. (Ghent, Rotterdam). This proves a commitment to the principles of the charter. Thriving to be better : or,
« to be the best in Europe », (Copenhagen's ambition)
2. Added Value of Benchmarks
• The benchmarks have been vital because they have enabled the implementing and mentoring cities to have a
discussion about what is possible within a set framework, developed with some reference to European wide
standards and objectives and based on available research about what works. The benchmarks are used to "hold"
the ImpleMentoring process, to challenge all involved to think more widely, and to start conversations, to remind
us of aspects we might otherwise forget.
• The iterative process of writing them with the visits and development of road maps, also used to comment on and
amend the benchmarks in the light of real practice makes them very robust.
• The benchmark is also an inspiration: developing it encourages people to aim high, but it is also the role of the
facilitator, to enable the two cities to look beyond a sort of lowest common denominator approach and aim for the
3. Leverage effect of the Mentoring visit :
• A visit by an international team, funded by the European Commission helps to change attitudes to the challenges
highlighted by the IC, both within its authority and among stakeholders. It gives those issues a higher profile. It
encourages actors inside and outside the IC administration to form alliances to support the change proposed.
• The whole mentoring process can act as a catalyst for change and allows integration departments in implementing city
to use the visit as a platform to make demands indirectly.
• Mentoring is also “talking the truth” and having cities face their shortcomings. Interviews are confidential and people
spoke freely and anonymously: the Mentoring team can be a neutral mediator and bring these voices to the city. Great
interest from the cities to LISTEN and take comments on board.
4. Mentoring is NOT a one-way process : Mentors get something from the visit
• Reflexion on own practice: how did we get there? What should have we done differently? Is everything going as well as
• Forbids the mentor city to be « too comfortable », complacent: in terms of migration flux things go very fast and some
cities experience massive changes in neighbourhoods over a few years. There should be a continuous thinking on one
5. Doing a lot with not much
• Resources are scarce: Integration funding is problematic.
• Cities are willing to move forward but in also need « light » and « short term » solutions. Hard to plan for years to come
and lack of resources to implement change.
• The flexibility of the model and the experience of the mentors allows for practical and adaptable recommendations.
6. City to city support
• Commitment of « new » cities in terms of migration, in eastern and northern Europe, to « prepare » themselves to
new arrivals: they need the experience of cities that already underwent this process. The idea of « Matching » cities
in a strong and trust-based collaboration, before, during, and after the visit, has very beneficial effects.
• ImpleMentoring is NOT a one-off : there should be, and there is a continuation. We are building « special
relationships » and EUROCITIES is the perfect link to ensure that the model is transferrable.
• Examples told by Mentors help discussion / “could that work here” / no discussion on the theoretical level.
• Mentoring is a serious job and can not be improvised: need of training and capacity building for future mentors.
• The model has been tested, will be refined, and is already being translated into other EUROCITIES projects funded by
the EU commission on different themes
• The model is flexible, adaptable, and has greatly progressed since it was first tested out in May, in Genoa and Milan.
After 8 visits, the mechanics are much clearer, we have a very precise idea of the do's and don'ts and a new series of
visits would be even more efficient.
• How to get further, to clearly have the « breakthrough » looked for by implementing cities?
What would an ideal new project, « ImpleMentoring 2.0 » look like?
• More time for preparation, more time for visit, more time to implement and assess after a few months: longer
project time-frame. Be sure to keep the line open between Facilitator / Mentor / Implementing City
• Make it truly a « two way process »: Internship / Job Shadowing / secondment in the Mentor city for key officers in
the Implementing city.
• Answer to the “how do we pay for that” question when implementation of the action plan is discussed.