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Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana

Public Participation - Planning (SEK0005)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana Action Plan

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly

Support Institution(s): Metro Works Engineer, Public Relations Officer, Budget Officer, Community Development Officer, Metro Physical Planning Officer, IT Officer, STMA-CSUF, FoN, Kyzz FM, GNA, Global Communities

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Infrastructure & Transport, Participation in Budget Processes, Public Participation, Subnational

IRM Review

IRM Report: Sekondi-Takoradi Final Report 2017

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Brief Description of Commitment: Build a participatory planning process - from needs assessment, to site selection, to project design - of infrastructure development projects. The Metropolitan Assembly will engage a pilot set of four communities across the four Sub Metropolitan areas within STMA to leverage the existing Time with Community platform to do so.; Status quo or problem/issue to be addressed: There are guidelines for engaging citizens in participation in local government, development planning and budgeting processes. However, the levels of citizen’s participation in the above are still limited and citizens feel that their needs are not adequately reflected and captured in Assembly’s development plans and annual budget. No existing formal mechanism to match government planning expertise with community knowledge of local needs and context for sustainable infrastructure development.; Main Objective: To ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels and also promote community ownership of development projects.; Relevant to OGP values: The implementation of this commitment will ensure effective participation and engagement between citizens and decision-makers in order to strengthen public participation, transparency and accountability. It is anticipated that increasing public participation in local governance and democratic processes will ensure that citizens are involved in actual decision-making on issues that affect them and hold duty bearers accountable. This will also ensure that citizens play their role of partners with the Metropolitan Assembly and other service providers in a manner that promotes good governance and community ownership.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

5. Public Participation – Planning

Commitment Text

Build a participatory planning process from needs assessment, to site selection, and to the design of infrastructure development projects. The Metropolitan Assembly will engage a pilot set of four communities across the four Sub Metropolitan areas within STMA to leverage the existing Time with Community platform to do so.

Milestones

5.1. Needs Assessment. Engage the four pilot communities (to be determined based on an analysis of past community participation in Time with Community) to understand their key priorities for infrastructure projects. Based on this assessment, we will determine the most needed and feasible project in each community.   

5.2. Site Selection. We will work with a widespread network of community leaders (Assembly member, traditional rulers, youth etc.) – through Site Meetings – to determine the possible locations for infrastructure development. We will assess the possibilities together and select the appropriate site based on community knowledge of the area with Assembly expertise in engineering and physical planning 

5.3. Project Design. Once the site is selected, we will work with the same community members to design the facility. The commitment will focus on the selection, planning and design process, and future work. 

5.4. Feedback. We will gather community feedback on their participation in the planning process, and develop guidelines based on lessons learnt to replicate planning successes in future efforts.

Commitment Overview

Status of Completion Substantial
Start Date January 2017
Intended Completion Date December 2017
Responsible Office
Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA)
Did It Open Government? Marginal

Is it a STAR commitment?

Starred commitments are considered exemplary OGP commitments. To receive a star, a commitment must meet several criteria:

-        It must be specific enough that a judgment can be made about its potential impact. Starred commitments will have “medium” or “high” specificity.

-        The commitment’s language should make clear its relevance to opening government. Specifically, it must relate to at least one of the OGP values of Access to Information, Civic Participation, or Public Accountability.

-        The commitment would have a 'transformative' potential impact if completely implemented.

-        Finally, the commitment must see significant progress during the action plan implementation period, receiving an assessment of 'substantial' or 'complete' implementation.

No

Commitment Aim

Overall Objective & Relevance

Formal structures and channels for grassroots participation in development planning and budgeting at the local level are either nonexistent or dysfunctional, thereby denying citizens the opportunity to have their needs included in local decision making, particularly in the choices of development projects.

The commitment seeks to promote responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision making in development planning, and community ownership of development projects. In an environment where there is the lack of established mechanisms for citizens to participate in the planning of their development projects, one of the most credible remedies is to legitimize formal channels that enable them to contribute to the decision-making process. Therefore, the objective of this commitment, which focuses on fostering ways to instigate grassroots to be active participants in processes that culminate in the selection of their community development projects, is important for the promotion of participatory democracy. More importantly, a salient aspect of the objective focuses on representativeness in the decision-making process, which helps address issues of biases and alienation of sections and groups from decision-making. By highlighting inclusivity in local decision making, the objective provides clear assurance of wider groups’ participation in development planning projects at the local level. Thus, when the objective is achieved, it could inspire further grassroots participation in democratic choices. The feeling of involvement in the selection of their preferences would build their sense of ownership of community development projects and make them willing to contribute to their maintenance.

This commitment involves four principal activities. First, the STMA will engage four pilot communities to assess the needs and priorities for infrastructure projects. Second, STMA will work with community and opinion leaders to determine the appropriate locations for development projects in each of the four pilot communities. Third, STMA will work with these same community leaders to design actual development the new facilities. Fourth, the STMA will gather feedback from communities on lessons learned for future project development. These four activities are geared towards citizens’ active engagements in the choices of their community development projects and are therefore relevant to the OGP value of civic participation.

Specificity and Potential Impact

Overall, this commitment’s specificity is medium. For example, Milestone 5.1 provides a specific number of pilot communities that STMA will engage with in determining the priority areas for development projects (four) and the means of community engagement (analysis of past community participation in the “Time with Community” meetings). Additionally, Milestone 5.2 gives a list of community leaders (Assembly member, traditional rulers, youth) that the STMA will engage to determine the locations of the development projects. However, it is unclear how STMA will gather feedback from the communities upon completion of the selection and design processes (Milestone 5.4).

By actively engaging community leaders in developing local infrastructure projects, STMA aims to promote greater community ownership of the projects and to improve participation in local decision-making processes. However, the approach limits the community engagements to selected local representatives (the community leaders), and yet, it is not clear whether the supposed community leaders will reflect diverse groups’ interests and perspectives.

Completion

Substantial

The Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Decentralization of Ghana developed a National Popular Participation Framework and Practitioners’ Manual to guide all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies in public participation methods.

The STMA states that it used these guidelines to carry out the needs assessments in four sub-metropolitan areas. It collected input and consolidated it in the needs assessment document. The STMA provided the IRM with the needs assessment of the sub-metropolitan area of Essikado-Ketan. [11] However, no other evidence was provided. The IRM contacted the CSO Friends of the Nation, which confirmed the progress stated by the government representative. It stated to have surveyed community members through a questionnaire; however, the IRM did not receive a copy. It is divided into themes (for instance: health, education, and agriculture). It provides lists of problems identified by each community within the sub-metropolitan area and a list of specific needs for each. One of the needs identified was the necessity to build a Community-Based Health Planning System (CHPS) Compound in Diabenekrom, one of the four pilot communities. The STMA reports to have selected the site with the community and has completed the project, having built the CHPS compound with funding from the member of Parliament of Essikado-Ketan. There is not enough evidence to determine whether the four pilot projects were finished and whether the STMA developed guidelines based on lessons learned.

Early results: did it open government?

Civic Participation: Marginal

The commitment sought to promote responsive, inclusive, participatory, and representative decision-making in development planning and community ownership of development projects. It was expected consequently that the commitment would increase citizen participation in the planning and the decision-making processes of the Assembly. In implementing this commitment, the STMA stated to have worked with Parliament to ensure financial needs were covered to carry out a need identified through the participation process. It completed the community needs assessment of Essikado-Ketan. It also reported to have concluded site selection, project design, and implementation with active participation of the citizens. This has culminated in the building of a CHPS compound for one of the pilot communities. The project has been handed over to the community. However, the community has voiced complaints due to the lack of potable water, furniture, and hospital equipment. [12] Implementation of this commitment has created or improved opportunities for the public to inform or influence decisions, thereby enhancing civic participation in the STMA. Nevertheless, there are still challenges to deliver on the final product as designed during the consultations along with providing the communities with the capacity to run the compounds after the government has handed over the project to the community.

Recommendations

The STMA should focus on designing sustainable plans to support communities after projects have been finished to avoid their abandonment. Once these issues are resolved, it could consider extending this practice to other areas in Sekondi-Takoradi. This commitment could help bridge relations with Parliament and promote the use of public funds to work on specific citizen needs as identified in open public processes. The STMA could consider lobbying to adjudicate a percentage of the budget to develop projects that stem from needs assessments on an annual basis, if a long-term support strategy is included in such a plan.

[11] Needs assessment for Essikado-Ketan, https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1hq22wPhY-ySHRxivBckkKm6fBZQ-nwID?usp=sharing

[12] Daibene community seeking support for CHPS Compound, http://www.ghananewsagency.org/social/diabene-community-seeking-support-for-chps-compound-137276


Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana's Commitments

  1. Transparency and Accountability in Public Infrastructure

    SEK0006, 2018, E-Government

  2. Civic Participation & Fiscal Transparency

    SEK0007, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Public Service Delivery

    SEK0008, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Access to Information

    SEK0009, 2018, E-Government

  5. Public Services –Sanitation

    SEK0010, 2018, Public Participation

  6. Public Service-Security

    SEK0001, 2017, Capacity Building

  7. Public Service - Sanitation

    SEK0002, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport

  8. Fiscal Transparency

    SEK0003, 2017, Capacity Building

  9. Starred commitment Public Participation - Private Sector

    SEK0004, 2017, Private Sector

  10. Public Participation - Planning

    SEK0005, 2017, Capacity Building