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Some Officials at the launch

Programme launched to enhance professional competencies of staff of Local Government Service

The Office of the Head of Local Government Service and the Institute of Local Government Studies have launched the Enhanced Scheme of Service Training (SoST) Programme for staff of the various job classes within the Local Government Service.

The SoST, according to local government experts, is geared towards the realization of a robust local government service delivery system that delivers the felt needs of the citizenry.

It is intended to introduce a more structured, coherent and career-oriented capacity-building intervention for the professional staff of the LGS while providing an opportunity to establish common value systems among staff for improved service delivery and local level development.

Among other objectives of the programme are to provide a harmonized approach to capacity-building interventions tailored to the various categories of the professional staff of the LGS, strengthen the links between staff training, performance assessments and career development as well as establish competency-based learning models that cut across all local government employees.

In a speech read on his behalf at the launch of the SoST in Accra on Wednesday, 2nd February 2022,  the Minister for Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Hon. Daniel Botwe acknowledged the OHLGS and the ILGS for recognising the importance of working together to ensure the requisite capacities of staff in the LGS are in place and this includes staff working in the 16 Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs) and the 261 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) as well as the sub-district structures viz. Sub-Metropolitan District, Urban, Town, Zonal and Area Councils (UTZAs).

 He said the roles that have been assigned to LGS staff under the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) requires that they demonstrate critical leadership qualities and hallmarks to enable them to address the myriad of challenges confronting the MMDAs and the RCCs in the performance of their day-to-day statutory functions.

“To this end, this joint initiative of the OHLGS and ILGS in operationalising the enhanced continuous professional development (CPD) training programme for staff of the LGS, is commendable.”

The Minister added that “the SoST programme will prepare you to meet those demands and give you the knowledge, skills, and competencies to reach new career heights. In addition to learning contemporary public management practices, insights, and trends, you will examine yourself as a leader, explore your strengths and challenges, develop a leadership philosophy and greater leadership presence, and deepen your emotional intelligence. Through your participation in the programme, your greatest potential will be tapped, and you can expect both professional and personal development.”

The Minister pledged government commitment to ensuring the success of the programme.

“The Government of Ghana is committed to the programme particularly for its coverage of the legal and contextual basis. To this end, it is envisaged that programme implementation would be sustainable and should attract funding from Government sources and development partners as well as private sector and individuals.”

 Addressing the gathering, Ing. Dr Nana Ato Arthur, Head of Local Government Service, pointed out that there is an ever-increasing expectation and demand for the delivery of improved services by the citizenry on local government authorities in the country.

The demand, according to him, accentuates the mandate of the Local Government Service i.e. the effective administration and management of the decentralized system of the country. This mandate confers on the LGS responsibilities of ensuring the proper functioning of local government structures and institutions; the deployment of time-tested systems, procedures, and processes as well as the engagement and development of capacity in support of improved service delivery at the sub-national levels.

“It is to this end that the subject of training, retraining and continuous professional development becomes most relevant. There is no way local governments can up their game in the discharge of their service delivery and development mandates as required without continuous training of their staff,” Dr Arthur emphasized.

 He continued that governance and service delivery provision are fast changing with the times and a forward-looking institution that is alive to its mandate will institute measures to develop its staff in order to keep up with the pace of the times or risk being left far behind.

 “Let me take this opportunity to commend the joint Councils of the Service and the Institute for exhibiting the highest level of commitment to strengthening the collaboration between the two institutions.

“The efforts of the joint Councils have yielded the much-anticipated results and the Service is pleased to have worked in close partnership with the Institute in the development of the enhanced scheme of the service training programme,” he added.

On his part, the Director of ILGS, Dr Nicholas Awortwi stated that in 2019, the leadership of ILGS and the Head of Local Government Service decided to reinvent the service training not because they thought it was trendy to do so, but they were convinced of the necessity to improve the professionalism of the service.

That according to him suggests that the technical competencies, skills and attitudes of about 30,000 Local Government Service staff need to improve.  That is because, the business of government and more specifically, the local government has changed from that of administering instructions to providing and managing high quality local public services that cost less to the public purse.  

Dr Awortwi explained that the Enhanced Scheme of Service is different from any other training that ILGS organizes.

“This training will adopt problem-based learning and partnership for learning and practice approach. That means, we will bring the challenges in the delivery of local government services in the districts to the classroom for analysis and provide plausible solutions back to the offices for implementation,” he stressed.

By: Mohammed Suleman/Publicagendagh.com

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