Ada (G/A), March 16, GNA - Dr Callistus Mahama, the Head of the Local Government Service (LGS) has underscored the necessity for continuous operationalisation of the LGS policy frameworks for improved, effective and efficient service delivery at the sub-national levels.
Dr Mahama made the remarks at a workshop to orient members of the newly constituted Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government and Rural Development on the operations of the Ministries and Agencies in local governance at Ada in the Greater Accra Region.
He provided an overview of the LGS as stipulated in the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936), which repealed and replaced the Local Government Service Act, 2003 (Act 656) that established the Service.
Dr Mahama said, the new Act (Act 936) addressed the bottlenecks and responded to emerging trends in decentralisation and local governance by synchronising critical components of the provisions of Article 240 in the 1992 Constitution on fiscal, political, decentralised planning and administrative decentralisation.
The LGS is a public service institution with the mandate to secure the effective administration and management of the decentralised local government system in the country.
It provides strategic direction to ensure that local government administration in the country meets international best practices.
The LGS is also responsible for the development of professional standards to guide human resource management and the provision of efficient and effective service delivery in consultation and close co-operation with other Public Services and assists District Assemblies to open their local economies for development.
The Head of Service said since its establishment, the LGS had developed a number of policy frameworks in the discharge of its mandate.
These include Capacity Building Framework, the Performance Management System and the Service Delivery Standards.
“Work ethics and minimum performance standards have been integrated into the operations of the Service as means of improving client satisfaction,” he added.
“For the LGS to achieve its vision of ‘a world-class, decentralised and client oriented Service,’ there is the need to sensitise the LGS staff and the larger public on the provisions of the various pieces of legislation on decentralisation and local governance,” he said.
He said over the years, the LGS had collaborated with Development Partners who had supported the Service with technical and financial assistance to ensure the delivery of improved services at the sub-national levels.
Dr Mahama indicated that, the continuous support of the Development Partners contributed to the successes chalked out by the Service and cited the Rights to Services and Good Governance Programme (RSGGP) as one of such projects jointly executed by the LGS and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the Local Government Capacity Support Project (LGCSP, Component 2B) funded by the World Bank.
“The RSGGP is designed to stimulate the demand side of accountability by encouraging the citizenry to participate in sub-national development initiative and demand for improved service delivery and justice, while the LGCSP is aimed at strengthening the provision of urbanized services and public financial management in the Assemblies participating in the project.”
Dr Mahama however mentioned resource constraints as a major challenge confronting the Service, adding that, other challenges include inadequate office accommodation for the full complement of Office of the Head of the Local Government Service (OFHLGS) staff and undue delays in the implementation of interventions arising from varied interests of stakeholders.
“Nonetheless the Service is poised to deliver on its mandate,” he added.
He emphasised on the need for a more proactive approach to fiscal decentralisation to ensure financial autonomy of the Assemblies as the future of the country depended on responsive local authorities.
The membership of the LGS include officers and staff of the OHLGS; Offices and Departments of the Regional Co-ordinating Councils; Offices and Departments of District Assemblies; Sub-Metropolitan and District Councils, Urban, Town and Area Councils.