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Ghana

Citizen’S Participation (GH0016)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Ghana, Second Action Plan, 2015-2017

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Parliament, Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), Public Sector Reform Secretariat (PSRS)

Support Institution(s): National Commission on Civic Education, Commonwealth Human Right Initiative, Center for Democratic Development, Institute of Democratic Governance, National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG), Regional Coordinating Councils, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), Ghana News Agency (GNA), Information Services Department, (ISD)

Policy Areas

Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Ghana End-of-Term Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation , Public Accountability

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Ghana’s OGP Action Plans, past and current, recognize citizens’ participation as an important part of its democracy and the development process and therefore commits to providing opportunities for citizens to participate in both central and local administration.
During the plan period, Government of Ghana intends to increase opportunities for citizens’ participation in the work of Parliament and the local government structures.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. Citizen’s Participation

Commitment Text:

Ghana’s OGP Action Plans, past and current, recognize citizens’ participation as an important part of its democracy and the development process and therefore commits to providing opportunities for citizens to participate in both central and local administration.

During the plan period, Government of Ghana intends to increase opportunities for citizens’ participation in the work of Parliament and the local government structures.

Actions:

·  Conduct 10 regional Adult Education Programme on the opportunities available for participating in local administration and Parliament by 2017

·  Advocate for Parliament to develop an action plan on the implementation of the declaration on parliamentary openness

·  Organize 10 regional outreach programmes with faith based organizations on the opportunities available for participating in local administration and Parliament by 2017

·  Work closely with the MLGRD and PSRS to ensure compliance with legal requirement to establish Client Service Units in all the District Assemblies by 2017

·  Develop capacities of District Assembly members by December, 2017

Lead Institutions: Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Parliament, Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), Public Sector Reform Secretariat (PSRS)

Supporting Institutions: National Commission on Civic Education, Commonwealth Human Right Initiative, Center for Democratic Development, Institute of Democratic Governance, National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG), Regional Coordinating Councils, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), Ghana News Agency (GNA), Information Services Department, (ISD)

Start date:  Not specified                                             End date: December 2017

 

Context and objectives

This commitment seeks to provide increased opportunities for citizens’ participation in the work of Parliament and local government bodies. In particular, it aims to increase opportunities for vulnerable groups, such as women and people with disabilities, to participate in the decision-making process. Gender equity in politics is an issue at the national and local levels. At the local level too few women are elected. For example in 2010 out of a total of 6,093 elected members, only 412 or seven percent, were women. "Ghana: Parties urged to increase representation of women in politics," Agora, (13 Apr. 2015), http://www.agora-parl.org/news/ghana-parties-urged-increase-representation-women-politics.  

Parliamentary Openness Declaration: The commitment also seeks to implement the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness. The Declaration on Parliamentary Openness was officially launched at the World e-Parliament Conference 2012 in Rome, Italy, on the International Day of Democracy.   Please see: http://www.openingparliament.org/declaration/ for the declaration  The Declaration is a call by civil society parliamentary monitoring organizations (PMOs) to transnational, national and sub-national legislative bodies for an increased commitment to openness and to citizen engagement in parliamentary work. PMOs are working to create strong, open and accountable parliaments through enhancing citizen participation in the legislative process and bringing parliaments closer to the people they represent. Two CSOs in Ghana, the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD Ghana) and Penplusbytes, have participated in the development of or indicated support for the Declaration.

This milestone does not clearly specify who will do the advocating. The milestone requires effective collaboration between CSOs, the media, and public institutions. Because of the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness’s goal to bring Parliament closer to citizens, the milestone was coded as relevant to civic participation. While encouraging citizen participation in the legislative process is laudable, the milestone language was too broadly worded to ascertain its potential impact, therefore the IRM researcher coded its potential impact as minor.

Regional Education Programmes (Milestone 3.1 and 3.3): These milestones address concerns about inequity in decision-making regarding women and marginalized groups through awareness creation. The National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) and Information Services Department (ISD) already conduct adult education and outreach programs. However, these institutions were not mentioned as lead agencies, but rather as collaborating institutions. The two milestones are not clear about the content of the programs, where they will occur or whom they will target. Given that the target group and program content was unclear, the IRM researcher rated these milestones as having minor potential impact.

Client Service Units in District Assemblies: This milestone involves MLGRD and PSRS ensuring the establishment of Client Service Units (CSUs) in all the District Assemblies. However, MLGRD is not an implementing agency. The Local Government Service (LGS) is responsible for the establishment of CSUs in the District Assemblies but this institution was neither mentioned as lead agency nor as a collaborating agency. As far back as 2011, Mr Alhassan Azong, Minister of State in-charge of Public Sector Reforms, criticized poor customer care among public sector institutions.   "Minister bemoans poor customer care among public sector institutions," Ghana Business News, (10 Mar. 2011), https://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/2011/03/10/minister-bemoans-poor-customer-care-among-public-sector-institutions/.  This milestone is to address the challenge recognized by the Minister. Their key functions include facilitating and improving standards of the services delivered by the MDAs/MMDAs, communicating MDA/MMDA services to the public and responding to complaints. PSRS (2016) Draft Report on Nationwide Assessment of Client Service Units (CSUs) in Selected MDAs & MMDAs  

When CSUs are properly functioning, citizens can lodge complaints at these units and service providers will respond, thereby improving service delivery. It is also possible for CSUs to proactively approach citizens for their satisfaction regarding MDA/MMDA services. These units had been established in a number of districts and these units lack a feedback loop to insure full follow-up from different service providers. IncluCity Mid-Term Progress Report: Improving Governance and Services for Ghana’s Urban Poor, Global Communities, http://www.globalcommunities.org/publications/2014-ghana-inclucity-report.pdf.  Expansion of these units to other District assemblies could help connect citizens with service providers. However, unless the follow-up mechanism is improved, the impact of this milestone will remain moderate in its scope.

Capacity Building for Assembly Members: This milestone to develop the capacities of district assembly members is very broad since there are 216 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) each consisting of a large number of assembly members. Neither the type of training, nor capacity-building plans were specified. Given the lack of information about this milestone, the IRM researcher rated the potential impact minor.

Completion

Many of the milestones were not completed, hence the commitment was coded limited completion overall.

Regional Education Programmes (Milestone 3.1 and 3.3): According to the NCCE respondent, the Commission has carried out numerous adult education and sensitization programs. NCCE staff questionnaire by the IRM researcher, 3 Oct. 2016.  The NCCE representative stated that it conducted more workshops than those mentioned in the action plan as it carried out the sensitization not only at the regional level but the district and national levels. The action plan implementation also coincided with local level elections (or District Assembly elections), a period when NCCE embarks upon its mandated sensitization activities which happen to encompass activities envisaged under these two milestones. The media reported that in February 2016, NCCE organized a workshop for People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs), traditional leaders, religious leaders, youth, and women's groups at the district level to address inequity in decision-making.   "NCCE builds capacity of Women aspirants," GNA (26 Feb. 2015), https://www.modernghana.com/news/601160/1/ncce-builds-capacity-of-women-aspira.html.  Despite the above media report, the IRM researcher could find no further information on the number of NCCE workshops. NCCE did not provide the exact number of workshops and at the time of writing this report, had not submitted supporting documentation to the IRM researcher. Given the inadequate evidence of full completion, these milestones were coded substantial.

Parliamentary Openness Declaration: The IRM researcher could find no evidence of any advocacy for implementing the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness. Further, the Parliamentary respondents The IRM researcher had discussions with the team at the Research Division of Parliament on 26 September, 2016.  could not provide any information on the implementation of such a program.

Client Service Units in District Assemblies: In June 2015, the Local Government Service (LGS) directed the MMDAs to establish CSUs to receive complaints and petitions from the public. “MMDAs asked to establish client services,” GNA (22 Jun. 2015), http://www.ghananewsagency.org/politics/mmdas-asked-to-establish-client-services-90928  The IRM researcher contacted LGS and the respondent said CSUs have been established in all MMDAs. The IRM Researcher talked to one of the key staff at Local Government Service on 30 September, 2016  The respondent did not provide any evidence to support the claim but there were media reports that some of the district assemblies have established the units. Samuel Sam, “Northern MMDAs sign performance agreements,” BFT Online (14 Jul. 2015), http://thebftonline.com/business/economy/14617/Northern-MMDAs-sign-performance-agreements.html#sthash.gOPNIXKp.dpuf; “Client Service Unit created in Akuapem North Assembly,” GNA (29 Jan. 2016), http://www.ghananewsagency.org/politics/client-service-unit-created-in-akuapem-north-assembly—99920.

Milestone 3.5 The IRM researcher contacted one of the key staff at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), but the staff did not provide the necessary information by the time of this report. Their website stated the institute organized a training of Presiding Members in the Greater Accra Region in June 2016. Since the milestone was not clearly specified, it is difficult to ascertain the completion level. It is not possible to say whether the milestone is complete since capacity building is an on-going process.

Early Results (if any)

CSUs were established in the MMDAs. However, some CSO stakeholders stated that these units are not effective in gathering and addressing citizens’ complaints. Instead, they act more as basic information providers. One of the CSO participants interviewed by the IRM researcher said, “The CSUs are like reception, they just give directions to people to offices of staffs.” This was from one of the respondents at the stakeholder meeting held in Tamale on 17 August, 2016.  Stakeholders noted that CSUs must be able to respond effectively to citizens’ information requests and competently perform their services.

ILGS training for presiding members examined the extent of conflicts among Assembly leaders and taught problem solving strategies for better conflict management.

Next Steps

The researcher believes that most of the milestones in this commitment are outreach activities that are more relevant to access to information but less relevant for citizenry participation. Citizen participation efforts could not only employ traditional outreach methods (e.g. community durbars, public information vans and town hall meeting) but also consider innovative mechanisms for citizens to provide feedback. For example, district assemblies could consider using other technologies like mobile phones to solicit citizen feedback. Mobile phone usage is pervasive throughout Ghana;   Dasmani Laary, “Ghana: Mobile phone penetration soars to 128%,” The Africa Report (9 Mar. 2016), http://www.theafricareport.com/West-Africa/ghana-mobile-phone-penetration-soars-to-128.html.  exploring technologies that are commonly used by the people will be beneficial to all.

Assemblies could also consider summarizing their development plans in local languages to facilitate citizen access to development projects and processes within their communities. For illiterate citizens, plans could be illustrated and posted in public areas such as the notice boards of district assembly offices or zone and town offices. In addition, the district assemblies could provide information in structured formats that facilitate analysis and reuse. For example, assemblies might publish financial documents on their respective websites for citizen analysis.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

3. Citizen’s Participation

Commitment Text:

Ghana’s OGP Action Plans, past and current, recognize citizens’ participation as an important part of its democracy and the development process and therefore commits to providing opportunities for citizens to participate in both central and local administration.

During the plan period, Government of Ghana intends to increase opportunities for citizens’ participation in the work of Parliament and the local government structures.

Actions:

  • Conduct 10 regional Adult Education Programme on the opportunities available for participating in local administration and Parliament by 2017
  • Advocate for Parliament to develop an action plan on the implementation of the declaration on parliamentary openness
  • Organize 10 regional outreach programmes with faith based organizations on the opportunities available for participating in local administration and Parliament by 2017
  • Work closely with the MLGRD and PSRS to ensure compliance with legal requirement to establish Client Service Units in all the District Assemblies by 2017
  • Develop capacities of District Assembly members by December 2017

Responsible Institution(s): Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Parliament, Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), Public Sector Reform Secretariat (PSRS)

Supporting Institution(s): National Commission on Civic Education, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Centre for Democratic Development, Institute of Democratic Governance, National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG), Regional Coordinating Councils, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), Ghana News Agency (GNA), Information Services Department, (ISD)

Start date: Not specified End date: December 2017

Commitment aim:

This commitment seeks to provide increased opportunities for citizens’ participation in the work of Parliament and local government bodies. In particular, it aims to increase opportunities for vulnerable groups, such as women and people with disabilities, to participate in decision-making processes. Specific milestones include implementing the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness, holding regional education programs, establishing client service units in district assemblies, and building the capacities of assembly members.

Status

Midterm: Limited

Completion was coded as limited overall, as many of the milestones were not completed at midterm. The loose framing of intended targets and program content of at least two milestones, regional education programs, and capacity building for assembly members made it difficult for the IRM researcher to assess their potential impacts.

The IRM researcher found evidence from interviews and media reports that the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) executed several adult education and sensitization programs at the regional, district, and national levels, including one in February 2016 for People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs), traditional leaders, religious leaders, youth, and women's groups to address inequity in decision-making.[1],[2] However, the IRM researcher could not find information on either the number of NCCE workshops or to show that any action was taken to implement the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness. Media reports appeared to corroborate the affirmation by a local government respondent that Client Service Units (CSUs) were established in all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).[3] For more information, please see the 2015–17 IRM midterm report.

End-of-Term: Limited

Completion is coded as limited because the IRM researcher was unable to obtain evidence of completion from either the Institute of Local Government Studies (an implementing partner for this commitment) or from the media. Scheduling conflicts prevented an interview with Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), also an implementing partner.

Regional Education Programs (Milestone 3.1 and 3.3): This milestone was coded as having limited completion. Besides the workshop report at the midterm (see midterm status above), the IRM researcher found no evidence that additional workshops were held during the second year of implementation of the plan.

Parliamentary Openness Declaration: This milestone was not started. Ghana’s Parliament has not formally adopted this Declaration, though it’s said to be conducting its work according to the principles of open parliament.[4]

Client Service Units in District Assemblies: Besides the information reported in the midterm report (see above), the IRM researcher was unable to obtain evidence from interviews, including with the Institute of Local Government Studies (an implementing partner for this commitment) or the media that this milestone was completed. She was also unable to secure an interview with the Ministry for Local Government and Rural Development.

Capacity Building for Assembly Members: Besides the information reported in the midterm report (see above), the IRM researcher was unable to obtain evidence from interviews, including with the Institute of Local Government Studies (an implementing partner for this commitment) or the media that this milestone was completed. She was unable to secure an interview with the OGP focal person in the Ministry for Local Government and Rural Development.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did Not Change

Civic Participation: Did Not Change

Public Accountability: Did Not Change

This commitment sought to enhance the participation of citizens, particularly of underrepresented groups like women and people with disabilities in local and national governance decision-making processes, by adopting the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness and strengthening the capacities of targeted citizen groups and government officials. There were more women parliamentary candidates in 2016 (137) than in 2012 (133). More women were elected to Parliament in 2016 (35) than in 2012 (29).[5],[6] However, it is difficult to attribute changes in women’s political participation solely to the NCCE’s sensitization efforts.

The government continued to engage citizens through various public fora according to the principles of open parliament, but did not formally adopt the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness.

Carried Forward?

In the 2017–19 national action plan (NAP), this commitment aims to strengthen the client service units that were expanded during the 2015–17 NAP. However, the other milestones listed above and marked as incomplete are not featured. It would be useful to include specific milestones for the adoption of the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness and continual engagements with citizens on political participation, especially women.


[1] NCCE staff questionnaire by the IRM researcher, 3 Oct. 2016.

[2] 'NCCE builds capacity of Women aspirants,' GNA, 26 Febuary 2015, https://www.modernghana.com/news/601160/1/ncce-builds-capacity-of-women-aspira.html.

[3] The IRM Researcher talked to one of the key staff at Local Government Service on 30 September 2016.

[4] “Better laws for Ghana: Making data accessible to legislators,” Westminster Foundation for Democracy, 25 July 2017, http://www.wfd.org/better-laws-for-ghana-making-data-accessible-to-legislators/

[5] Mildred Europa Taylor, “35 female MPs? Ghana could have done better - Gender Activist,” Pulse, 13 December 2016, https://bit.ly/2qpUz1B

[6] “More women for 7th Parliament of 4th Republic,” Ghana Election 2016, 23 December 2016, http://ghanaelection2016.ghanaweb-news.com/more-women-in-parliament.html


Ghana's Commitments

  1. Open Contracting and Contract Monitoring

    GH0020, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport

  2. Anti-Corruption Transparency

    GH0021, 2017, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  3. Beneficial Ownership

    GH0022, 2017, Beneficial Ownership

  4. Fiscal Transparency and Accountability

    GH0023, 2017, Fiscal Transparency

  5. Extractives Sector Transparency

    GH0024, 2017, Extractive Industries

  6. Right to Information

    GH0025, 2017, Legislation & Regulation

  7. Civic Participation and Accountability

    GH0026, 2017, Fiscal Transparency

  8. Technology and Innovation

    GH0027, 2017, Capacity Building

  9. Starred commitment Open Contracting

    GH0014, 2015, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  10. RTI

    GH0015, 2015, Right to Information

  11. Citizen’S Participation

    GH0016, 2015, Public Participation

  12. Fiscal Openness

    GH0017, 2015, Legislation & Regulation

  13. Starred commitment Revenue Management

    GH0018, 2015, Legislation & Regulation

  14. Open Data

    GH0019, 2015, Open Data

  15. Fiscal Responsibility

    GH0001, 2013, Legislation & Regulation

  16. Fiscal Transparency

    GH0002, 2013, Capacity Building

  17. Right to Information

    GH0003, 2013, Capacity Building

  18. Human Rights and Anti-Corruption

    GH0004, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  19. Extractive Sector Revenue Management

    GH0005, 2013, Extractive Industries

  20. Investment Oversight

    GH0006, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  21. Citizen Participation

    GH0007, 2013, Capacity Building

  22. Code of Conduct Bill

    GH0008, 2013, Asset Disclosure

  23. Audit Reports

    GH0009, 2013, Audits and Controls

  24. National Broadcasting

    GH0010, 2013, Civic Space

  25. e-Immigration

    GH0011, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration

  26. Financial Management

    GH0012, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration

  27. Starred commitment Policy Portal

    GH0013, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration