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Decentralisation secretariat probes councils on gender, management transparency

July 1, 2016 By Mohamed Massaquoi

Head of the Evaluation Unit at the Decentralisation Secretariat has disclosed to this medium in an exclusive interview that they have completed a comprehensive Local Government Performance Assessment System to probe performance of all 19 councils in the country.

Madam Colina Macaulay said the minimum criteria deal with aspects of local management, accountability compliance and compliance with the existing Local Government Act and regulations which guide the operations of councils.

She further noted that the report for 2016 will be published next month, adding that they were seriously concerned about the number of women participating in local governance issues, including ward committees.

She revealed that they have introduced redress mechanisms in five councils – Freetown, Bonthe, Kambia, Kono, and Tonkolili districts – which give locals opportunity to participate in the administration of their areas and also make complaints about certain projects that have not been completed by their councils.

“This assessment is done yearly to look into the performance of the councils. The actual report is to come out in July, but it is important to note that people actually appreciate the operations of their councils and government should continue by giving more support to the decentralization process.

“In 2006, a performance assessment framework was designed and implemented as a way of initiating the process of showing results for development investments made at Local Council level. The institution of this annual assessment, the Comprehensive Local Government Performance Assessment System (CLoGPAS), laid the foundation for routine monitoring of Local Councils and the provision of evidence-based information on Local Councils functional capacities and performance,” she explained.

She said: “This exercise was conducted in 2006, 2008, 2011 and in 2013 to provide an objective means of assessing key performance bench marks and to keep track of progress made by Local Councils in strengthening local governance structures, whilst improving on service delivery. In 2006 and 2008, the assessment consisted only of a set of Minimum Conditions and Performance Measures.”

She added that following two successful assessments, it became expedient in 2010 to revise the tool and incorporate additional competencies into the assessment to include key service delivery components such as Local Economic Development, Ward Committees, and Gender issues and the devolved sectors – health, education, and agriculture.

“The primary purpose of this assessment is to measure councils’ performance in an objective manner, as a mechanism to further accelerate high performance to re-align Local Council’s business processes for improved results.

“The Minimum Conditions (MCs) deal with aspects of Local Council Management, accountability, andassess the compliance of Local Councils to existing laws and regulations which guide the Decentralisation process.

“The revised MCs have six (6) thematic areas with sub-indicators that define specific thematic areas. The thematic areas of the MCs are as follows: (1) Financial Management (2) Development Planning (3) Project Implementation (4) Budgeting and Accounting (5) Transparency and Accountability and (6) Functional Capacity of the Local Council.

“The PMs are more concerned with councils’ operational proficiency in terms of effectively using existing and established structures/institutions to improve decentralised service delivery, support good governance, transparency, accountability and inclusiveness. The Performance Measures (PMs) have seven broad thematic areas: (1) Management, Organisation and Institutional Structure, (2) Transparency, Openness, Participation & Accountability, (3) Planning System, Project Implementation and Monitoring and Evaluation, (4) Human Resource Management, (5) Financial Management, Budgeting and Auditing, (6) Fiscal Capacity and Local Revenue Generation, (7) Functionality of the Procurement Unit,” she said and added that the her organisation’s assessment was quite different from that of the State House performance contract.

In 2015, Tonkolili District Council was certified and awarded as the best performing council for the 2013 evaluation.

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