July 20, 2015 By: Amadu Femoh Sesay, PRO-Cabinet Secretariat
Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, Dr. Ernest Surrur, participated in the Africa Cabinet Government Network (ACGN) West African Policy Analysts training workshop which took place in Ghanaian capital of Accra from 6th-10th July.
Addressing participants from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana as President of the Council of African Cabinet Secretaries, Dr. Surrur pointed out that effective and evidence-informed Cabinet decision-making is critical to national development.
He said the workshop aimed at developing the capacity of Cabinet Secretariat staff to review policy proposals and provide better support to line ministries in preparing policy proposals for Cabinet consideration.
“Building support for line ministries is an important feature of our work – so that Secretariats can work with line ministries to improve their capacity to prepare evidence-informed Cabinet proposals and better serve Cabinet members,” he stated.
Dr. Surrur said ACGN focuses on the processes of policy development and decision-making and on building capacity to support effective decision-making by the governments, adding that ACGN’s support for African Cabinet processes includes strengthening the capacity of Secretariats to assist the Chair of Cabinet and its members to make better, more informed collective decisions.
The Secretary to the Cabinet pointed out that making effective decisions that can and will be implemented also requires skilled policy analysts in line ministries, to collect and analyze relevant evidence from many sources, stressing that it also requires skilled analysts in Cabinet Secretariats to help Cabinet members assess and interpret the policy evidence that comes from line ministries and other sources.
Dr. Surrur observed that despite all the progress in African governance over the last 50-60 years, many Cabinet Secretaries have found that too many of the decisions made by Cabinets have not been implemented in a timely and effective manner, saying that some proposals were submitted to Cabinets without evidence that they will work.
He informed the gathering that Sierra Leone’s Cabinet has recently approved a new Cabinet Manual that introduces practical procedures to write proposals and implement Cabinet decisions.
Making her presentation, the Africa Cabinet Government Network (ACGN) Adviser, Sonia Umu Karim, said Cabinet Secretariats support evidence-informed policymaking by reviewing memos and advising line ministries, preparing policy briefs for the Chairman, technical backstopping to ministries in developing and operationalizing implementation plans and monitoring implementations, among others.
Ms. Karim pointed out that Cabinet Secretariats help Cabinet ensures genuine exchange of ideas in Cabinet, with all its members well informed about the impacts and implications of proposals.
Representing the Ghanaian Secretary to the Cabinet, the Director of Cabinet, Alhaji A. Sadiq referred to the training as a wonderful idea that would improve on the systems and processes of Cabinet operations.
He disclosed that the Ghanaian Cabinet Secretariat is in the process of reviewing its Cabinet Manual and would learn from Sierra Leone since the latter has developed a new Manual that is in line with modern Cabinet operations.
Presenting the training certificates, the Director of Cabinet commended the participants, especially those from Sierra Leone, for topping the training exercises.
Sierra Leone’s participants included Francis Jabati, Deputy Director; Mohamed Yoki, Senior Management Analyst; and Edward Mansaray, Assistant Secretary from the Cabinet Policy Review Unit.