The programme is a joint initiative of the Office of the Head of the Local Government Service (OHLGS) and the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) to improve administrative and operational capacities of the LGS at all levels. It also brings to fruition, the constitutional provisions under Article 240(2)(b), for which Parliament was required to provide by law, measures that are necessary to enhance the capacity of local governments to plan, initiate, coordinate, manage and execute decisions of the local governments.
The SoST is aimed at equipping and sharpening the professional knowledge, skills and attitudes of staff and officers of the LGS for improved job performance and organisational effectiveness. It is well-structured, sequential and a career-oriented programme customised for the respective professional staff classes within the LGS. The roll-out of the SoST programme would significantly have an impact on professionalism and productivity of staff, improve management performance and effectiveness in service delivery responsibilities of local governments in Ghana.
Sixteen (16) professional classes of the LGS, covering about 20,000 staff of the service have been targeted for the continuous professional development programme. They been clustered into 7 professional groups namely; administrators; human resources managers; environmental health and sanitation officers; finance, budget and rating officers; planners; engineers and; information and communication technology officers. There are five main categories of programmes for which 10 programme modules, made up of 98 distinct courses have been developed in response to the capacity needs of staff and the LGS scheme of service for staff. The programme curricula and training will be delivered by a carefully selected team of dedicated and highly knowledgeable academics, researchers and senior civil servants with many years of local governance experience.
The introduction of the structured Scheme-based training for staff of the LGS would significantly have an impact on the professionalism and productivity of staff, improve administrative, management and operational capacities as well as LG performance and service delivery responsibilities. It is envisaged that the training events will be conducted at both the Accra and Tamale Campuses of the ILGS with prospects for use of a designated training centre in Kumasi and other regional centres. Learning method will include a mix of adult learning technique, lectures and class discussions, case studies and peer learning and experience sharing. The node of delivery of the training will include both physical and virtual learning platforms.
Capacity building in the context of the local governance has been generally defined as activities that enhance the ability of local authorities to meet intended objectives. It is linked to performance improvements and may include human resource development in a broader sense, organization and institutional development, process improvements, logistic and resource enhancement, motivational and change management interventions that impact desirable change at the institutional, group and individual level. The LGS Capacity Building Framework (2016) also discusses capacity building as a multi-dimensional concept and generally define capacity building as interventions that seek to bridge capacity gaps in two main categories namely, training and non-training interventions.
- The training interventions relate to (a) formal classroom (or higher educational qualifications) which are prerequisites for entry into any professional class; (b) occupational (or professional) qualification as required for positions in the professional class and referred to as schemed-based(or continues professional or career development) programmes, which is mandatory for any promotion of staff; (c) skill-based training to develop management capacities including conferences, seminars, retreats and workshops; (d) on-the-job training, advisory, guidance and counselling, coaching, mentoring and supervision, and establishing peer-learning platforms such as the ICT-based Community of Practice(CoP) learning tools ; (f) internships, field trips, study tours, self-development, attachment and meetings.
- The non-training interventions include (a) Policy and strategy re-designs processes, including changes in laws and mandates for better performance; (b) Task re-design (job description and condition of services) and; (c) Process re-design (logistic and other resource requirements such as the development of operational manuals, guidelines and toolkits) The others include staff motivation, organizational structure, job rotation, general working environment and the organizational culture.
Capacity building in all forms and levels should be prioritized and structured. In line with the 1992 Constitution, Act 936, Act 647 and LI 1961 as well as the published LGS Capacity Building Framework (CBF) and the Scheme of Service for staff of the LGS, the OHLGS and ILGS intend to operationalize the enhanced Scheme of Service Training for staff and ensure training and development interventions are responsive to needs of the local governments. The SoS training interventions are designed to establish performance-driven LGs and thus, training will be linked to results envisaged under the:
- District Performance Assessment Tool (DPAT);
- Performance Contracts (PCs) of the headship of RCCs (Regional Ministers with Regional Coordinating Directors) and MMDAs (Chief Executives with District Coordinating Directors) and;
- Individual annual staff performance appraisals, generally referred to as the Performance Planning Review and Appraisal Forms (PPRAF)
1.2.2 Programme Philosophy
Building capacities of staff through education and training is a key demand for effective job performance.
The roles that have been assigned to bureaucrats in the Local Governance Act,2016 (Act 936) and LI 1961 requires that they demonstrate critical leadership qualities and traits as well as address challenges that confront them in the performance of their day-to-day statutory functions. The theory change underpinning this capacity building interventions are that:
- If capacities of LG are enhanced to enable them deliver on their mandate (ie to plan, initiate, co-ordinate, manage, mobilize resources, execute plans and provide services) in response to needs of residents in a collaborative, transport and accountable process;
- If functionaries and staff understand and perform their respective roles and responsibilities of exercising oversight and implementing decisions of LGs;
- If citizens/ residents perform their civic roles and responsibilities as well as participate effectively in the governance process in an inclusive way and;
- If LGs, civil society and the private sector come together to identify gaps, map resources and work together to improve local conditions;
- Then, LGs will be performance-driven to maintain their relevance and strengthened to promote improved human development outcomes.
The SoST programme is therefore built on the following pillars and assumptions.
- Continuous capacity building interventions for staff of LGS is a prerequisite to support the implementation of administration reforms and modernization of the public service organization.
- Demands for professionalism of the LGS requires a systematic approach to building critical knowledge, attitudes and skills to be able to achieve the imperatives of local governance and local level development.
- Establishment of Departments of the Das as contained in LI 1961 and Act 939 imposes higher performance standards on RCCs and MMDAs and staff as the synergies between their key performance area become clearer.
- Various positions in the LGS have become more competitive, for instance, the position of Coordinating Director/ Chief Director has been opened up to all professional classes and not a preserve for the administration class. Therefore, a systematic training intervention will be critical to ensure evenness in opportunities for career progression.
- Recognition of innovation in management and administrative practice and the need to impart new knowledge and techniques to LG functionaries
- Appreciation of the changing philosophy in development management to accommodate inclusivity, right-based approaches and social accountability.