Regional News of Friday, 27 September 2013
Source: Daily Graphic
The Local Government Service Secretariat has held a one-day workshop in Accra on inter-service collaboration to ensure proper decentralisation of all public institutions in the regions and districts of the country.
Participants were drawn from various governmental agencies including the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD) and Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA).
In a presentation on decentralisation, local government and the Local Government Service, the Head of the Local Government Secretariat, Dr Callistus Mahama, said the constitution had placed an injunction on all the various state agencies to collaborate towards effective service delivery at the national, regional and district levels.
He said in view of that, the workshop was the first in a series of steps the secretariat had lined up towards an eventual framework for collaboration at the local, regional and national levels.
Outlining the legal provisions compelling agencies to collaborate, Dr Mahama, said “the most direct injunction for inter-service/inter-sectoral collaboration and which puts the onus for the initiation of such collaboration and cooperation on the Local Government Service is contained in section 15 (6) (c) of the Local Government Service Act, 2003 (Act 656).”
The Act states: “The Head of the [Local Government] Service shall ----- establish, with the approval of the [Local Government Service] Council, systems for effective inter-service and sectoral collaboration and cooperation between the [Local Government] Service, the Ghana Education Service, the Ghana Health Service, the Forestry Service and other services to harmonise local government programmes and avoid duplication”.
Assigning reasons for the need of an inter-service collaboration, Dr Callitus Mahama stated that the presence of both devolved (absolute powers) and de-concentrated (limited powers) departments and sectors, as well as non-decentralised services and sectors at the district level, made it inevitable to require co-ordinated delivery of municipal services, as well as for the co-ordinated preparation and implementation of district development plans.
“The functions of some of the devolved departments and the de-concentrated departments and non-decentralised services overlap,” he added.
He said decentralised development planning, as envisaged under the National Development Planning (System) Act, 1994 (Act 480) could be effective, only if the planning was done holistically and it involved all agencies connected with district-level development and district-level services delivery, whether those agencies were devolved or de-concentrated.
“The sequencing of activities and operations in the course of implementation of development projects and delivery of municipal services provides another reason for inter-service collaboration and cooperation,” Dr Mahama added.