Municipal Prevention Chains

Preventative measures in NRW’s municipalities - A joint initiative by the State Government of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Bertelsmann Stiftung

The municipalities

40 municipalities are taking part in the “Municipal Prevention Chains” initiative. Each municipality is working on the creation of individual prevention chains, depending on its own goals and issues which have been specifically identified for the joint initiative.

From the 52 applicants throughout North Rhine-Westphalia, the following Opens internal link in current window18 municipalities have been selected for the four-year Pilot Project (since 2012).

Since 2017  Opens internal link in current window22 further municipalities take part in the rolled out state initiative across North Rhine-Westphalia.

Our goals
The joint initiative is run on the basis of the idea that “prevention is better than cure” and has the following aims:

  • To improve equal opportunities and development possibilities for every child
  • To observe and organise challenges and preventative approaches from the viewpoint of children
  • To develop modules with the aim of establishing municipal prevention chains
  • To optimise and network existing resources and programmes
  • To reduce public budget burdens over the long term by means of preventative measures

To achieve this, the municipalities are to build up a systematic and ongoing collaboration between stakeholders in administration, agencies, associations, civil society and business.

Preventive measures in NRW's municipalities
Municipalities play a key role in the field of prevention. The networking and collaboration of the key stakeholders in the municipalities and social areas is intended to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the measures and also to make it easier to reach the children and young adults. The locally active participants initiate collaborations between child, youth and family welfare agencies, health services, schools and education services, culture, sport and other leisure organisations, training agencies and employment services, the police and courts. The priority here is on improving collaborative support and intervention structures.

Learning Network - Support for the municipalities
The establishment of the prevention chains in the 40 municipalities is supported and monitored by a central coordinating authority. This authority acts as a central administration point for collecting information from all of the municipalities, coordinating professional support and consultancy services and organising dialogue between the participants and the state government as part of a learning network. The coordinating authority is based in the Ministry for Families, Children, Youth, Culture and Sports.

Knowledge transfer - Learning from "best practices"
We share the experiences of the participating municipalities and similar programmes through thematic seminars and on our website This is to ensure that all cities, local government authorities, rural districts and other stakeholders can quickly benefit from existing knowledge as well as the knowledge acquired by the municipalities through their participation in the joint initiative. The Bertelsmann Stiftung is responsible for coordinating knowledge transfer.

Evaluation - Identifying effects and highlighting optimisation opportunities
Municipalities need to be in a position where they can evaluate the effects of preventative policies.

  • To what extent has the situation improved for the children and young adults affected?
  • To what extent has it been possible to avoid social costs, thus allowing the targeted diversion of funds into preventative measures?

Building on these insights, municipalities can develop customised action strategies for their own localities. The Bertelsmann Stiftung is responsible for the evaluation.