Criteria for Best Practices

USUDS has analyzed different criteria used by various specialized agencies in locating and cataloging Best Practices.

Best Practices are those which:

• Have a demonstrable and tangible impact on improving the people quality of life.

• They are the result of collective effective working between different sectors of society: public, private and civic.

• Are socially, culturally, economically and environmentally sustainable.

Can be adapted in order to be replicated in similar contexts.

Based on this analysis, the criteria that USUDS uses to identify Best Practices is:




It may arise due to the changing or questioning of traditional focuses of action or because it gives rise to experiences based on a model that are targeted at solving problems in different areas and contexts. Innovation may refer to a problem, procedure or decision and does not necessarily need to be a total novelty in the scope within which it is applied.

  1. In which aspects has innovation been generated in focusing on the problem, procedure or decision?
  2. From what other pre-existing experience does this innovation come?
  3. What new technologies have been applied?
  4. What new legislation, regulations, methodologies, etc. have been generated?


Definition of action lines that will permit progress to be made in achieving specific objectives. These lines or strategies must be related not only to the objectives, but to the actions and results sought and to the circumstances of the agents involved and their context.

  1. What were the project objectives? Were they measurable and quantifiable?
  2. What were the strategies for achieving the established objectives?
  3. Did all the agents involved take part in defining the strategies?


The participation of all those involved in the project is contemplated: public-private and public-public cooperation: establishing the competencies and responsibilities.

  1. Who were the project partners?
  2. What is the general distribution of responsibilities among the parties involved?
  3. How did the beneficiaries participate?


Observable, tangible and positive changes have been implemented within the scope of action of the project.

  1. What tangible improvements have taken place in the beneficiaries?
  2. What tangible improvements have been observed in the community?
  3. What changes have been produced by the project with respect to regulations, legislation…, applied in this scope of action?
  4. Has the project led to changes in the methodology?

Evaluation and effectiveness

Creation of a system that will permit the monitoring and evaluation of the actions taken and the level of compliance regarding objectives. The initiative or action shows the achieving of objectives through the evaluation and recording of its results.

  1. What were the results of the project, compared to the defined objectives? 
  2. Has any system been designed or used for measuring, monitoring or evaluating the project?   
  3. What indicators are used to monitor objectives?


The experiences were conceived and planned to last over time with respect to consolidating forms of relation and action that affect all agents and considering the cost-benefit-efficacy ratios involved in their future maintenance.

  1. What actions have lasted over time?
  2. How will the project and its results be financed in the future?  
  3. What agents will intervene in its operation and maintenance?

Transfer capacity

The capacity to serve as a guide or model in order to apply the experience in other similar scopes and contexts.

  1. Has this action been applied in any other scope or place?
  2. Is there a possibility of other bodies or programmes using this practice?
  3. Is there any characteristic that does not allow its transferability?