Office of the Head of the Local Government Service (OHLGS) with support from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has held a Management Workshop for Hon. Municipal and District Chief Executives (MDCEs), and Municipal and District Co-ordinating Directors (MDCDs) from the Volta and Oti Regions on the Manual on Records Management and Fixed Assets ManagementProject on Monday, August 15, 2022 at the Sky Plus Hotel, Ho.

The purpose of the workshop was to enable the participants appreciate what the manual contains, make input into the manual and commit resources towards its implementation. 

In his welcome remarks, the Hon. Volta Regional Minister, emphasized the importance of Records Management Units in the effective running of Assemblies and expressed joy about the holding of the Workshop.

He stated the critical importance of the Workshop, hence the highest level of Management at the Assemblies were invited as participants.

Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, also emphasized the importance of attending workshops such as the above in order to help participants appreciate the roles and responsibilities expected of them. He therefore bemoaned the situation whereby Hon. MDCEs and MDCDs absent themselves from meetings and workshops without permission. He consequently indicated that appropriate sanctions would be applied to any Hon. MDCE or MDCD who absents him or herself from meetings and workshops. 

He urged the participants to take the workshop seriously and wished them fruitful deliberations.

In an address read by a Representative of JICA, Mr. Sylvester Bayowo, a Programme Specialist, who also welcomed participants to the workshop stated that in 2019, JICA received a request from the OHLGS for support to address a pressing issue in the areas of Records and Fixed Assets Management. He stated that based on the request, JICA developed a robust system which is adaptable and user-friendly with a manual to deal with Records Management.

Mr. Bayowo indicated that for the system to be successfully deployed, the important role of Hon. MDCEs was identified, hence the organisation of the workshop. He mentioned that with the implementation of the system, the LGS with the Assemblies under it would have a unified Record Management System.

He concluded that the partnership between JICA and LGS would last forever.

The Chief Director at the OHLGS, Mr. James Oppong-Mensah read the Keynote Address on behalf of the Head of the Local Government Service, Ing. Dr. Nana Ato Arthur.  He noted that the Departments under the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies, over the years, “have encountered a plethora of setbacks in their operations, making local government administration more complex owing to the dynamic nature of society and its populace.” He stated that in view of the above, clarion calls had been received to make the Local Government Service more relevant to constituents.

He emphasized that “the success of MMDAs in their day-to-day activities thrive on good governance, transparency and accountable service delivery, a key component of which is effective Records Management system.”

Furthermore, he underscored the importance of Records Management noting that “As a Public Service institution, the quality of the services we provide to our clients largely depends on how well we manage and provide information for effective decision-making.”

Making reference to the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989), he stated that with the passing of the Act, it has become more “expensive to have a disorganized Records Management system, especially in tandem with the role of MMDAs in the governance system of the country.” He therefore stressed the need for the LGS to “always know the data and information the Service has, how to keep it and where to retrieve it effectively and efficiently.”

The address highlighted some of the functions of the Records Management Unit of the Assemblies, which included the following:

  1. Maintaining sound recordkeeping of the LGS records (i.e create, maintain, and store records in accordance with recognized standards).
  2. Providing training for Records Management staff.
  3. Inter unit collaboration (IT/MIS).
  4. Ensuring that appropriate systems and technical manuals are properly managed.

That notwithstanding, he acknowledged that the Unit is plagued with several operational challenges among which are the following:

  1. Low levels of information sharing across Departments within local government units.
  2. Lack of central control over records and records management awareness among staff.
  3. Undue delays in processing and taking actions on correspondences within some MMDAs and RCCs.
  4. Seemingly low spate of digitization of the Records Management Units.

To address the challenges, he disclosed that measures were being taken to create a professional cadre of staff with higher qualification as a way of strengthening the Records Class in the Service.

Ing. Dr. Nana Ato Arthur affirmed the request to JICA to support the LGS in developing Systems and Structures to manage Records and Fixed Asset in the Service. The request, according to him, had led to 3-year partnership with JICA which commenced in January 2020.

The key objectives of the partnership with its attendant project were:

  1. To develop and operationalize an effective and efficient Records Management System for replication at all levels of the Local Government Service.
  2. To develop and operationalize an effective and efficient Fixed Assets Management (FAM) System for replication at all levels of the Local Government Service.
  3. To make further recommendations for the improvement of the general administration and human resource management systems of the Service.

He informed participants that the project brought about the development of a comprehensive Records Management Manual for the LGS which has principles, ethics and practices that would guide the Records Management of every Assembly.

Importantly, he expressed the expectation that Management and Staff of the Service would adhere to key issues in the Manual which include the following:

  1. To operationalize the new functional based Classification Scheme by migrating from the old system as a matter of priority.
  2. RMUs should be centrally situated in order to facilitate and expedite the distribution and flow of files.
  3. RCDs and MMDCEs to pay specific attention to all correspondences received at their outfits to avoid delays in taking necessary actions.
  4. To streamline Records Management, all correspondences (i.e. Incoming/Outgoing letters, etc) should first be processed through the Records Management Unit before any other office.
  5. The RMU must have basic logistics such as shelves, files, etc as described in the Manual. Management must provide the logistics accordingly.

He therefore called on the Management of Regional Co-ordinating Councils (RCCs) and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to ensure that managerial and operational changes in Records Management and Fixed Assets Management are adhered to in order to keep the full dividends of the new Records and Fixed Assets Management System.

Finally, he reaffirmed Government’s commitment to digitizing various sectors of the Ghanaian economy and expressed confidence that the Records Management and Fixed Assets Management Manual would ease the transition process in the Local Government Service.

Participants were taken through the Manual and important topics such as Fixed Assets Registration, Fixed Assets Registration in LGS, Implementation Steps, Action Planning, Management Responsibility and Submission of Evaluation as well as Action Plan.