Effective local government is critical to improving access to social and infrastructure services, participants discussed at a recent workshop in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.
Twenty-four senior officers from both local and national government departments attended the event, which took place between 19 and 23 May. It was organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.
Jacqueline Wilson, Director of Governance and Institution Development at the Secretariat said that enhancing the capacity of local government officials to deliver better services to citizens is crucial to reducing poverty and attaining the Millennium Development Goals.
"This workshop was conceptualised to strengthen skills of the participants in key issues that they confront in their local settings," said Ms Wilson.
The Commonwealth Secretariat provides technical assistance for institutions with public responsibilities and helps member countries improve the performance of their public services.
The workshop was designed for District Chief Executives, District Coordinating Directors, Metropolitan Coordination Directors, and senior officers in the Ministry of Local Government.
"Local governments have an important role in delivering key services such as water, healthcare, education and housing and in meeting MDG targets at the community level.
"There is need to strengthen capacity of local governments to provide maximum municipal services and to expand their role in local economic development and integrated development planning in partnership with stakeholders," added Ms Wilson.
This event was an opportunity for participants to discuss key issues in local administration, such as strategic planning for local development, performance management in service delivery, role of local government in poverty reduction.
'Enhancing capacity for decentralisation in Ghana' was the theme of the workshop, which was put together at the request of the Government of Ghana, following positive feedback from participants who attended an earlier regional local government workshop held last year.