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Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana

Transparency and Accountability in Public Infrastructure (SEK0006)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Sekondi-Takoradi Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly

Support Institution(s): Other involved actors Government Metropolitan Works Engineer, Metropolitan Development Planning Officer, Metropolitan Budget & Rating Officer, Metropolitan Finance Officer, Physical Planning Officer, Metropolitan Management Information System Officer, Metropolitan Public Relations Officer Civil Society, Private Sector Institution: Friends of the Nation Designation: Natural Resource Governance Coordinator Name: Solomon Kusi Ampofo Telephone:+233-24-4055951 E-mail: s.ampofo@fonghana.org Berea Social Foundation, Community Land and Development Foundation, African Women International, Global Communities, STMACSUF, Media and other relevant Local and International Organisations- (eg: Construction Sector Transparency-CoST, Behavioural Insights Team, Open Contracting Partnership)

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption, E-Government, Infrastructure & Transport, Land Rights & Spatial Planning, Local Commitments, Open Contracting and Public Procurement, Public Participation, Public Procurement, Public Service Delivery, Social Accountability, Sustainable Development Goals

IRM Review

IRM Report: Sekondi-Takoradi Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: No

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

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

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

NO. 1:TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE
Enhance transparency and accountability in the delivery of public infrastructure by publishing project and contract information; develop mechanisms for citizens to monitor and report on implementation
Name and contact information of responsible department/team
Institution: Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan
Assembly Designation: Metropolitan Procurement Officer
Name: Aaron Dandori
Telephone +233-20-54617570
Other involved actors
Government
Metropolitan Works Engineer, Metropolitan Development Planning Officer, Metropolitan Budget & Rating Officer, Metropolitan Finance Officer, Physical Planning Officer, Metropolitan Management Information System Officer, Metropolitan Public Relations Officer
Civil Society, Private Sector
Institution: Friends of the Nation Designation: Natural Resource Governance Coordinator Name: Solomon Kusi Ampofo Telephone:+233-24-4055951 E-mail: s.ampofo@fonghana.org Berea Social Foundation, Community Land and Development Foundation, African Women International, Global Communities, STMACSUF, Media and other relevant Local and International Organisations- (eg: Construction Sector Transparency-CoST, Behavioural Insights Team, Open Contracting Partnership)
Status quo or problem/issue to be addressed
The Government of Ghana enacted the Public Procurement Act, (Act 663) in December, 2003 (operationalised on 27th August 2004) and Public Procurement in Ghana therefore is subject to the Act. The Act was further amended in 2016 (Act 936) to make provision for public procurement and Provide for decentralised procurement. Whiles the Assembly has over the years performed well in the usage of this Act without any procurement irregularities cited by the PPA in its annual procurement audits; information on public infrastructure such as project details, contract award processes, contract documents, progress and completion reports, and monitoring of implementation are limited to the citizens who are the direct beneficiaries. Inadequate avenues for citizens‟ oversight roles in some cases have resulted in delay in execution and abandoned projects in some localities leading to mistrust and loss of confidence in public officials. For instance about 70% of citizens engaged during the co-creation process do not understand the procurement processes and do not have access to and lack the ability to interpret and understand infrastructure project documents which hinders their ability to demand for accountability
Brief Description of Commitment
Building on the gains from involving citizens in the participatory planning process (under LAP I); from needs assessment, to site selection, to project design of infrastructure projects. STMA will foster partnership with relevant local and international organisations to implement this commitment by adopting the CoST Infrastructure Data Standard1 . Develop mechanisms to engage citizens in the implementation, monitoring and reporting. STMA seeks to develop and launch a webbased geo-spatial Information Platform for Public Infrastructure. This platform will serve as a place to publish and make easily accessible project procurement and implementation documents for citizens; to better understand, monitor and report (any defect, shoddy work, disability friendliness) to ensure value for money on all projects. Develop a simplified procurement process template for citizens‟ consumption, capacity building and institute a Media Award for outstanding work in reporting important issues on public infrastructure projects.
Main Objective
To increase transparency and accountability in public infrastructure delivery and develop mechanisms to monitor projects to ensure improved outcomes from investment in public infrastructure to achieve value for money.
Way in which this commitment is relevant to further advancing OGP values of access to information, public accountability, civic participation, and technology and innovation for openness and accountability
This commitment has the potential to further advance OGP values of access to information, public accountability, civic participation and technology and innovation for openness and accountability in the delivery of public infrastructure. The commitment will provide an opportunity for citizens to have access to information on all public infrastructure projects entered into by the Local Government through follow ups on the implementation of public investments. The web based Information Platform for Public Infrastructure will enhance the use of technology and innovation. This will also help to ensure value for money on all transactions. Disclosing information on public infrastructure and allowing citizens to monitor implementation can be a powerful tool in preventing corruption, shoddy works and misuse of public funds and restoring public trust in government.
Linkage to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The successful implementation of this commitment will go a long way to advancing the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals of ensuring inclusion, gender equity, economic growth, building resilient infrastructure, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions for all. The commitment on transparency and accountability in relation to public infrastructure is linked to the following SDGs: Goal 4 (education) Goal 5 (gender equality), Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth), Goal 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), Goal 10 (reduced inequality) and Goal 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).
Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment
1. Foster partnership with the relevant local and international organisations, the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) and other actors to develop and launch web-based geo-spatial Information Platform for Public Infrastructure; • Where procuring entities of infrastructure projects disclose and share information in a disaggregated and user friendly format. • Where citizens can monitor implementation, report and receive feedback on public infrastructure delivery in the Metropolis
Resource/s Required
Staff time, consultancy, ICT Platform
Jan. 2019 – June 2019
2. Test and pilot the Information Platform through field and lab tests to identify and improve its usability. Two (2) communities, where there is an on-going infrastructure project, would be sensitized on how to use the application to generate the needed feedback on usability.
Staff time, consultancy, BIT for impact evaluation
July 2019 – Sept. 2019
3. Design mechanisms to officially launch and publicize the Information Platform for Public Infrastructure. Test the various outreach methods to determine which reach the most people and are most comprehensible.
Staff time, Stationery BIT for impact evaluation
Sept. 2019 – Nov. 2019
4. The Metropolitan Assembly and the MSF will foster partnership with the relevant local and international organisations, using the PPA Act, will develop and disseminate a simplified procurement manual detailing out the steps, procedures, timelines, tasks and responsibilities for public procurement in a user friendly format which will also be shared on community notice boards, town hall meetings. We will also leverage on the existing time with community and the Media network to be established for education and dissemination.
Staff time, consultancy, Stationery, notice boards
Feb. 2019 – Jan. 2020
5. Build the capacity and leverage on the diversity of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF) to lead, plan and dialogue on key issues regarding public infrastructure in the Metropolis. This could be replicated to the other local government in the western region of Ghana.
Staff time, consultancy, Conference cost, Stationery
Jan. 2019 – Dec. 2019
6. Foster partnership with the relevant local and international organisations to build the capacity of 100 CSOs and media through workshops to raise awareness of the importance of transparency and accountability in public infrastructure.
Staff time, consultancy, Conference cost, Stationery
July 2019 – Oct. 2019
7. Partner with the relevant local and international organisations to select and train 200 community champions to empower them to use information on public infrastructure to demand for accountability. The trainees will constitute monitoring groups and they would be involved in the STMA‟s scheduled monitoring visits to compare the disclosed data with direct observation, reviewing materials and assessing their status. The training will be evaluated to ensure that the community champions are able to engage with the platform and actually submit inquiries
Staff time, Consultancy, Conference cost, Stationery BIT for impact evaluation
Aug. 2019 – Aug. 2020
8. Institute a Media Award for outstanding work in reporting important issues on public infrastructure projects.
Staff time, awards
Dec. 2019 – Aug. 2020
9. Expand the existing „Assembly on radio‟ to include CSOs and citizens to discuss key issues identified on infrastructure projects. The effect of the Media Award and radio debates on public confidence will be measured through a co-designed survey measuring trust in government.
Air time, Staff time, Transportation, BIT for impact evaluation
Aug. 2019 – Aug. 2020
10. Conduct a broader evaluation of the impact of the IPPI on project transparency, as measured through disparities between direct observations and IPPI records
BIT for impact evaluation
Sept. 2020 – Nov. 2020
Future Vision
To build citizens‟ trust and strengthen accountability in the delivery of public infrastructure.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

1. Transparency and Accountability in Public Infrastructure

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“Enhance transparency and accountability in the delivery of public infrastructure by publishing project and contract information; develop mechanisms for citizens to monitor and report on implementation.”

Milestones:

  1. Foster partnership with the relevant local and international organisations, the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) and other actors to develop and launch web-based geo-spatial Information Platform for Public Infrastructure;
    1. Where procuring entities of infrastructure projects disclose and share information in a disaggregated and user friendly format.
    2. Where citizens can monitor implementation, report and receive feedback on public infrastructure delivery in the Metropolis
  2. Test and pilot the Information Platform through field and lab tests to identify and improve its usability. Two (2) communities, where there is an on-going infrastructure project, would be sensitized on how to use the application to generate the needed feedback on usability.
  3. Design mechanisms to officially launch and publicize the Information Platform for Public Infrastructure. Test the various outreach methods to determine which reach the most people and are most comprehensible.
  4. The Metropolitan Assembly and the MSF will foster partnership with the relevant local and international organisations, using the PPA Act, will develop and disseminate a simplified procurement manual detailing out the steps, procedures, timelines, tasks and responsibilities for public procurement in a user friendly format which will also be shared on community notice boards, town hall meetings.We will also leverage on the existing time with community and the Media network to be established for education and dissemination.
  5. Build the capacity and leverage on the diversity of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF) to lead, plan and dialogue on key issues regarding public infrastructure in the Metropolis. This could be replicated to the other local government in the western region of Ghana.
  6. Foster partnership with the relevant local and international organisations to build the capacity of 100 CSOs and media through workshops to raise awareness of the importance of transparency and accountability in public infrastructure.
  7. Partner with the relevant local and international organisations to select and train 200 community champions to empower them to use information on public infrastructure to demand for accountability. The trainees will constitute monitoring groups and they would be involved in the STMA‟s scheduled monitoring visits to compare the disclosed data with direct observation, reviewing materials and assessing their status. The training will be evaluated to ensure that the community champions are able to engage with the platform and actually submit inquiries.
  8. Institute a Media Award for outstanding work in reporting important issues on public infrastructure projects.
  9. Expand the existing „Assembly on radio‟ to include CSOs and citizens to discuss key issues identified on infrastructure projects. The effect of the Media Award and radio debates on public confidence will be measured through a co-designed survey measuring trust in government.
  10. Conduct a broader evaluation of the impact of the IPPI on project transparency, as measured through disparities between direct observations and IPPI records. [1]

Commitment Overview

Verifiability

OGP Value Relevance (as written)

Potential Impact

Completion

Did It Open Government?

Not specific enough to be verifiable

Specific enough to be verifiable

Access to Information

Civic Participation

Public Accountability

Technology & Innovation for Transparency & Accountability

None

Minor

Moderate

Transformative

Not Started

Limited

Substantial

Completed

Worsened

Did Not Change

Marginal

Major

Outstanding

1. Overall

Assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Context and Objectives

The award of contracts for infrastructural projects is one of the most common sources of embezzlement and other forms of corruption in Ghana. [2] The annual audits of the Public Procurement Authority and sittings of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) of parliament regularly brings to light many procurement breaches, often involving large sums of money. This is compounded by widespread suspicion that the public procurement process provides an avenue for politicians and senior public officials to either extract monies illegally from the state or to reward partisan associates. [3] Moreover, there are virtually no means by which citizens can monitor and directly report to responsible officials about the state of ongoing public infrastructural projects. This has resulted in widespread cynicism at both the national and local level about the integrity of the procurement process. [4]

To address these problems, the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) plans to produce an accessible information sheet on the procurement process for the general public. The assembly has entered into a partnership with Construction Sector Transparency (CoST), a global initiative that promotes transparency and accountability in the provision of public infrastructure. [5] The assembly plans to adopt the CoST Infrastructure Data Standard in order to make procurement of data easily and widely accessible to the public. [6]

To encourage citizen engagement and monitoring, STMA plans to launch an online geospatial-based information platform where citizens can have access to public procurement information and monitor progress of public works. Citizens can also report unsatisfactory progress of work through this platform. The assembly is building the capacity of staff to respond adequately and in a timely fashion to complaints when they arise. [7] Finally, this commitment involves setting up an award for outstanding reporting on infrastructural projects in order to encourage media houses to focus on this issue.

This commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information because it involves measures to increase the amount and quality of information available to the public, such as development of the web-based geospatial information platform and a simplified procurement manual for the public. It is also relevant to the OGP values of civic participation and public accountability as it aims to train media, CSOs, and community members to demand accountability on infrastructure issues. Most importantly, the online portal will provide a mechanism for citizens to submit comments and concerns. Assembly staff are also to receive training to improve responsivness to public demands or queries. Finally, because the commitment seeks to make use of the web-based geospatial information platform to enhance access to information on infrastructural projects, it is relevant to the OGP value of the use of technology and innovation for openness and accountability.

The commitment is specific enough to verify its completion. If this is fully implemented, it is likely to bring about a transformative change. It will open up an aspect of governance which tends to be opaque to public view. In interviews with the IRM researcher, the OGP POC and Metropolitan Budget Analysts [8] noted that this would bring a marked shift in the practice that prevailed in the past, where the assembly starts infrastructural projects without consulting the communities, and thus, discouraging the communities from owning these projects. Greater procurement transparency and citizen input provide the necessary prerequisites for public accountability. However, training to ensure public uptake of these resources and government responsiveness are the core ingredients for social accountability. The creation of citizen-monitoring groups and a media award to incentivise public uptake of procurement information give this commitment its transformative potential.

Implementation of this commitment is likely to generate benefits that could extend beyond the provision of infrastructure. For instance, collaboration between citizens and local government officials in the monitoring of projects is likely to bring local governance closer to the public and generate more trust between people and their local leaders. This is likely to further increase public participation in local governance, which tends to be very low across the country, according to the CDD-Ghana report cited earlier.

Two challenges may limit implementation of this commitment. First, the national government's delayed release of infrastructure project funds may pose a challenge to timely release of public procurement information at the local level. Delayed disbursement poses a serious problem to infrastructural project completion across the country, as a recent report indicated. [9] Second, the commitment was designed with funding from donor partners. When this funding cycle ends and is not renewed, the assembly is going to face serious challenges in financing future commitment design process. This issue goes beyond STMA, as the assembly’s revenue-generating capacity is limited, and it must rely on subventions from government, which are often not enough to finance all the assembly’s expenditure for the fiscal year. This issue emerged during the interviews, especially with Abdul Aziz of the Citywide Settlement Upgrading Fund (STMA-CSUF), Nana Kofi Abuna V, and Isaac Aidoo, the OGP POC. All respondents expressed anxiety about the viability of the entire OGP process after the current funding cycle ends. As a short-term measure, the IRM researcher recommends exploring funding opportunities within Ghana, for instance, from national philanthropic and civil society organisations, such as STAR-Ghana.

Next steps

The IRM researcher makes the following recommendations:

  • This commitment should be prioritised in future action plans. The commitment can have potentially high impact that can restructure the current relationship between the people and the assembly.
  • The commitment fosters active engagement between local government officials and representatives of CSOs in the implementation design. This should also be continued in subsequent action plans.
  • The implementation of this commitment could benefit from the inclusion of enforcement and accountability mechanisms to ensure that complaints and findings from community champions and the general public are adequately dealt with.
[1] “STMA Local Action Plan 2018-2020”, Open Government Partnership, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Sekondi-Takoradi_Action-Plan_2018-2020.pdf.
[2] “Ghana Corruption Report”, GAN Business Anti-Corruption Portal, September 2016.
[3] See, for instance, “Bawumia bemoans corruption in public procurement”, Daily Graphic, 26 June 2018, https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/bawumia-bemoans-corruption-in-public-procurement.html; “Report: Massive Violation of Public Procurement Law”, Myjoyonline, 12 November 2018, https://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2018/November-12th/report-mass-violation-of-public-procurement-law.php.
[4] “Main Report: The IEA Corruption Survey”, The Institute of Economic Affairs, 2016, https://ieagh.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/IEA-CORRUPTION-SURVEY-REPORT.pdf; “Construction Business and Corruption Are Twins”, Modern Ghana, 27 December 2018, https://www.modernghana.com/news/906220/construction-business-and-corruption-are-twins.html.
[5] Isaac Aidoo, interview by IRM researcher, 1 April 2019.
[6] “Address delivered by Mayor of Sekondi-Takoradi”, 13 March 2019, STMA Conference Room.
[7] Kofi Yeboah, interview by IRM researcher, 4 April 2019.
[8] Similar views were expressed by the Chief of Essipon, Nana Kofi Abuna V, as well as CSO representatives like Abdul Aziz of STMA-CSUF, and Ebow Barker of the Berea Social Foundation.
[9] “Delayed government disbursement threatens infrastructural growth – Report”, GhanaWeb, 16 April 2018, https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/business/Delayed-government-disbursement-threatens-infrastructure-growth-Report-643448; “IDEG calls for immediate disbursement of Common Fund”, The Common Fund Newsletter, Issue 2, December 2014.

Commitments

  1. Transparency and Accountability in Public Infrastructure

    SEK0006, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  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, Local Commitments

  6. Public Service-Security

    SEK0001, 2017, Capacity Building

  7. Public Service - Sanitation

    SEK0002, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport

  8. Fiscal Transparency

    SEK0003, 2017, Capacity Building

  9. Public Participation - Private Sector

    SEK0004, 2017, Fiscal Openness

  10. Public Participation - Planning

    SEK0005, 2017, Capacity Building

Open Government Partnership