I leave my home happy and excited to start a new day, only to get angry at seeing my office building from a distance while closing in on it.
The worse feeling is entering it and sitting inside an office with an old dusty carpet, hot temperature with ageing malfunctioning computers staring at me alongside furniture that could be well described as a ticket for back pain disorder - a situation that makes me stand after every 10 to 15 minutes only to keep up health, avoid the stress of the environment and keep the job going, despite the constraints.
The Information Services Department (ISD) is recently seeing massive renovation and facelifting after so many years of neglect in a very dilapidated situation for reasons I might not be in the position to say or explain. I will refer the past to history but overjoyed at the new move to give the department a new look I am to enhance its work and provide workers of the department with the best and conducive working environment it requires to do its bit in providing the best in information services delivery to its publics regarding government’s activities and projects.
ISD has evolved over the years from an organisation established in 1939 as a branch of the government secretariat whose function was to convey to the people of Ghana (then Gold Coast) news and pictures on the progress of the Second World War (1939-1945).
However, after the war, it became the Public Relations Department of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Ghana News Agency and the Ghana Film Industry Corporation where all were nursed by the department before becoming separate entities.
The need for a more effective system of informing the public in 1949 gave birth to a new name ― the Department of Information Services. After the 1966 coup the department was merged with the Ministry of Information to become the central publicity agent of the government.
In March 1971, the ministry was split into two: the Ministry as the Public Relations arm of government and the Information Services Department.
The department is mandated to create awareness of government policies, programmes and activities using a combination of visual, audio, print and face-to-face interactions through drama, film and talk shows to reach communities across the country. It is also mandated to provide development information to the Ghanaian public and convey to the government the reaction of the public. Aside from the foregoing responsibilities, it is also the department’s duty to store, catalogue and maintain the film footages of public events and other materials produced in the country, as well as other relevant duties accorded by the state at any point in time.
The department discharges its mandate under five administration structures, namely: Finance and Administration, Publishing and Field Operations Campaign and Marketing, Public Relations and other special functions.
The department has representations across the country in all the regions performing same functions to promote government projects, activities and programmes and to educate the citizenry on the policies of government devoid of political leanings.
It should be noted, therefore, that even though modernity is changing a lot of things and getting all activities digitalised, the digital systems cannot explain to the average Ghanaian the intent of a government programme, its impact and the need to have such a programme or activity, thus the Information Services Department remains very relevant to any dispensation regardless of modernity in ICT and its accompanying agents. It must be emphasised therefore that ISD is and has been identified by all across the country as playing a very critical role in governance to enhance consensus between the government and the governed.
The current new look at ISD is, no doubt, a positive drift for its employees and the public. An enhanced image is, certainly, a morale booster for effective work delivery as related to the saying: a sound mind in a healthy body.
This piece would not be complete if I do not mention the depth of gratitude we as staff of this department wish to express to the current administration, especially the Minister of Information, for seeing the need to refurbish and give the department a new energy to discharge its national duties. I must say without mincing words that it is during his capable leadership that the department now has new look that is definitely going to give a remarkable impact on the work of ISD staff across the country. Ayekoo Mustapha Hamid, you made it happen.
The writer is a member of staff of the Information Services Department.