District chief executives will have to give an account of their stewardship and performance come May this year when those appointed in May 2009 will be up for an assessment in accordance with a directive by the government.
The directive was issued by the outgoing minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Ofosu Ampofo on Friday, January 11, 2013.
It asked DCEs who were appointed in 2009 to remain in office until May this year when their tenure ends and an assessment will be taken of their stewardship to determine those to be retained and those to be laid off.
Although the directive said that the performances of DCEs were monitored on a continuous basis and DCEs were removed before the end of their tenure by the president, the decision to assess them at the end of thier tenure, “and changes made to that effect,” is a novelty as it would be the first time that DSc are assessed on their performance at the end of their stewardship to determine if they would be retained or laid off.
The Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye said the move showed an orientation by the government that was accommodating of citizens' participation.
She said the intended assessment would also make for a new era where the criteria against which DCEs would be selected, would widen and vary, incorporating organisational, development and managerial skills and other expectations from individuals seeking the position.
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Dr Ofei-Aboagye said from the 1992 Constitution and the Local Government Act 462, the sector ministry, the Local Goverment Service and the ILGS, all articulated various broad rules and functions that would be the standard for the assessment or review of the performances of the DCEs.
Particularly for the ILGS, their work in linking citizens and beneficiaries of local government services, and their collaboration with civil society organisations in various districts as well as government agencies like the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and the National Commission for Civic Education (CIVISOC), placed them in a good position in contributing to the exercise.
Also, she said, the ILGS' position as a critical partner with various sector ministries, and also it's membership on the Inter Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Decentralisation gave it a panoramic view of local governance and what would go into the assessment.
Dr Ofei-Aboagye was of the view that the ante would be upped in the selection of DCEs subsequently.
That was because any performance assessment would result in the capacity building initiatives and performance expectations of what a DCE should achieve.
She also said it would institute a performance assessment standard for DSc, which in part was in sync with the demands Ghanaians made to the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) for the election of DCEs to make them accountable.
The Dean of Studies and Research of the ILGS, Mr Eric Oduro Osae, said the institute was ready to accommodate all 216 DCEs this year in training programmes.
DCEs now number 216 with the creation of additional 46 districts last year.
Story by Caroline Boateng