A two-day Professional Conference of the Local Government Service staff was held in Sunyani- the Brong Ahafo Regional capital. Participants were drawn from the Local Government Service Secretariat (LGSS), Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC), Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly (MMDAs). The Conference was under the theme: “Quality Leadership for Good Local Governance and Effective Service Delivery”.
Addressing the opening ceremony, the Head of Service, Dr. Callistus Mahama said the Conference offered a good platform for participants to learn new experiences not only from the facilitators, but among their colleagues/peers. He called on the Assemblies to build the capacity of all their staff so that officers would be equipped adequately to deliver quality services. To this end, he appealed to the District Chief Executive (DCEs) to support the personnel in the Assemblies to upgrade themselves.
He regretted that some Assemblies did not want to spend money to upgrade the knowledge and skills of their staff on the basis of non-availability of funding. To circumvent the above, all MMDAs were advised to budget for capacity-building of their staff.
In furtherance to the above, he urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Co-ordinating Directors (MMDCDs) to impress on the DCEs to seek the welfare of their staff by taking capacity-building of the key professionals seriously. Because, in absence of that all activities and development programmes of the Assemblies would be affected. Therefore, “competence” which is acquired through continuous training and learning should be considered central to our professionalism.
For this reason, the Head of Service asked MMDAs to make capacity-building a top priority from now (2016). The request become necessary because of the uncertainty of continuous LGSS funding of capacity-building programmes in the MMDAs. To buttress the importance of the above he said some personnel of the MMDAs had not been given any capacity- building skills since they were employed and this is exhibited during promotion interviews where participants were required to state the number of training programmes they have participated.
In another development, he asked participants to abreast themselves of all the activities and regulations of the Local Government Service. He then went further to posed the question “How many have seen the New Decentralisation Policy approved by Cabinet in July 2015”? Surprisingly, not many participants responded in the affirmative, but he explained that the document was a key component of the Administrative Decentralisation which the Local Government Service was implementing. Other important documents he charged officers of the Local Government Service especially Co-ordinating Directors to read included the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) and other sectoral policies.
Dr. Callistus Mahama used the platform to thank the Brong Ahafo Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) for co-ordinating the Conference. He also praised the other RCCs and MMDAs for sponsoring their professionals for the Conference. He went on to state that the self-sponsorship should be seen as a cost-sharing mechanism in the sense that the previous Conference was fully sponsored by the Local Government Service Secretariat (LGSS).
The Chairman of Public Services Commission, Mrs Bridget Katsriku who also addressed the Conference as the Guest of Honour called on the Staff to show professionalism in the service they deliver to the public within the complex environment in which they work. Mrs Katsriku as an experienced Civil Servant acknowledged the difficulty in managing government affairs in such a environment .
Because of the complexity of the environment she also added her voice to the institutionalization of an Award Scheme for hard-working staff as a moral booster.