The Head of the Local Government Service (LGS), Dr Nana Ato Arthur, has hailed the service’s new records management manual saying it will help transform local governance in the country.
The manual was developed with the support of the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) to guide the establishment of a records management unit at the assemblies and develop an effective system for the control of records.
Dr Ato Arthur greeted the manual with enthusiastic approval in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Director of the Service, James Oppong Mensah, at the opening of a management workshop for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) at Ho last Friday (August 19, 2022).
The workshop in Ho was the first of a nationwide series and benefitted MMDCEs in the Volta and Oti regions.
Dr Ato Arthur said the manual would enhance local service delivery by providing the needed transparency and accountability.
“The success of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in their day-to-day activities thrive on good governance and transparency so it is important to note that the success of local government units, particularly MMDAs, is not complete without an effective records management system,” he stated.
“A comprehensive records management manual has been developed for the Local Government Service. This manual is a game changer if we want to change the status quo of our records management and address the challenges,” he said.
Value of records
Dr Ato Arthur noted how the value of records had greatly appreciated with the passage of the Right to Information Act and said MMDAs should support the transformation of the records management regime.
“As a public service institution, the quality of the services we provide for our clients largely depends on how well we manage and provide information for effective decision-making. In fact, since the passing of the Right to Information Act, 2019 (ACT 989), it has become more expensive to have a disorganised records management system, especially in tandem with the role of MMDAs in the governance system of the country,” he said.
The JICA collaboration is a three-year project that began in 2020, which among other things will develop and operationalise an effective Records Management Unit (RMU) and a Fixed Asset Management (FAM) system at all levels of the Local Government Service.
The project will also help improve the general administration and human resource management systems of the Service.
The Head of the Service said the Records Management Units, aside from maintaining sound record-keeping, would provide training for the records management staff and work towards inter-unit collaboration.
He said inadequate staff remained a “major affront to the effectiveness of the Unit” and that class of staff would be enhanced to help maintain their quality and relevance.
Dr Ato Arthur said low information sharing and a lack of willingness to embrace digitisation in records management were also challenges which culminated in correspondence lags within the local government administration.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to digitising the various sectors of the economy and said he was sure the manual would facilitate the transition within the Service.
Mr Oppong Mensah indicated that poor record management affected all local assemblies and that MMDCEs should come together to solve it.
He said challenges of ghost names and other corrupt administrative practices could be traced to bad record management and advised the executives against the establishment of personal record units in their offices.
The Chief Director asked them to help establish and maintain strong lines of administrative procedure to ensure an uninterrupted flow of correspondence and more effective communication with the people.