The Department of Local Government Administration (LGA)
The Department of Local Government Administration (LGA) facilitates the co-ordination of the ten (10) Provincial Offices under the Provincial Local Government Officers, 109 Local Authorities (Including thirty four (34) operational newly created councils, oversees the Chalimbana Local Government Training Institute and Local Authorities Superannuation Fund (LASF). As a Department, which is in charge of Local Authorities, the essence of the Department is to ensure that the standards of living of the people in the 109 Local Authorities are uplifted through the provision of quality services by the Local Authorities.
The Department is mandated under the current Government institutional set-up (Government Gazette Notice No. 836 of 2016) with the responsibility of co-ordinating local government administration, including superannuation fund, business hours, cemeteries and burial sites, Amusement and play parks, Council Nurseries, Crematoria, fire services, levies, liquor licensing, local authorities training, local government policy, rates, registration of marriage, street lighting and theatres and cinemas policy. It is also charged with the responsibility of developing sector policies and programmes to facilitate the effective and efficient implementation of Government programmes in Local Government Administration and Decentralisation.
To ensure that Local Authorities deliver quality services and are transparent and accountable in the provision of services to the local communities.
In order to fulfil its mandate the Department of Local Government Administration has six (6) main objectives that include:-
- To co-ordinate and monitor the operations and performance Local Authorities in the provision of services to the local communities
- To ensure that Local Authorities enforce and apply the laid down conditions of service for their employees.
- To ensure that local authorities books of accounts are inspected regularly.
- To ensure that Local Authorities and other stakeholders architectural plans comply with laid down fire safety regulations.
- To ensure that Local Authorities adhere to, enforce and apply laid down laws and regulations in their operations.
The Department of Local Government Administration is headed by the Director and has three main sections that include Local Government Administration, Local Government Finance and Audits and Fire Services.
Local Government Administration
The main functions include:-
- Develops and monitors policy legislation changes relating to Local Government including Fire services to ensure that they are relevant to the current situation.
- Monitors and co-ordinates the implementation of the Decentralisation Policy in order to enhance wide citizenry participation in decision making at the local level including formation of Ward Development Committees and establishment of Management Boards.
- Co-ordinates and monitors administrative operations of Local Authorities in order to achieve high performance and quality standards.
- Facilitates the twining of Local Authorities in order to enhance co-operations between Cities and Towns in other Countries.
- Scrutinises minutes and reports from Local Authorities in order to provide timely and appropriate advice on relevant matters
- Initiates, formulates and revises policies and regulations relating to operations of Local Authorities relating to Liquor Licensing in order to adhere to current circumstances and ensures timely issuance of licenses and enforcement.
- Undertakes inspections of Developmental Projects to ensure timely implementation of the same.
- Provides timely guidance and advice to Local Authorities on Administration, Policies and Legislation in order to ensure operations are within legal framework.
- Facilitates effective negotiations between Trade Unions and Local Authorities over salaries, wages and Conditions of Service for Council employees in order to fulfil contractual obligations.
- Reviews Local Government Policies and Legislation in order to ensure they are up-to-date and in harmony with existing legislation.
- Processes Bye-Laws, Gazette Notices and Statutory Instruments.
- Co-ordinates preparation of Annual Reports for Councils and Provincial Local Government Officers for presentation to Parliament in order to inform the House about activities of Local Authorities.
- Co-ordinates, monitors and supervises Provincial Local Government Officers.
- Promotes adoption of Local Economic Development (LED) strategies in Local Authorities to enhance service delivery at the local level.
Local Government Finance and Audits
The main functions include:-
- Scrutinises, summarises and consolidates accurately Local Authorities Budget Estimates in order to ensure compliance with the Law and Budget guidelines.
- Ensures timely procurement and disbursement of grants in order to make funds available for running of Local Authorities.
- Verifies Minutes of Local Authorities Finance and General Purposes Committee meetings as well as monthly Receipts and Payments Accounts in order to provide timely advice on matters arising.
- Carries out audit inspections of Local Authorities accounts as required by Law.
- Recommends appropriate measures for disallowance and surcharge to the Minister in order to facilitate disciplinary action and recovery of Councils funds arising from audit reports.
- Prepares timely Parliamentary briefs and reports on Local Government Finance for information and appropriate action.
- Co-ordinates the administration of the Rating Act in order to enhance the financial position of Local Authorities.
- Reviews accounting and internal audit manuals in order to keep them abreast with new financial management requirements.