13 Salient Features Of Good Governance In The Local Government System

1. Transparency: To be an ideal local government, a local authority, first and foremost, should ensure the availability of information about the revenue and expenditure, working procedures, rules, regulations and decisions to the public. Information can be disseminated through the publication of development bulletins, organizing press conference and public auditing, and through electronic media. In addition, general public can be allowed to board and council meetings so as to directly access them to the information.

2. Accountability Responsibility: Authorities in the local government must be answerable to the people they elect. Hence, they need to be answerable/accountable to both the people and the concerned ministries as well. In addition, a horizontal accountability/responsibility is also expected from them to the Line Agencies, NGOs and donors.

3. Effective And Efficient: Resource is always scarce, and hence one of the indicators of ideal local government is its capacity to use the resources effectively and efficiently. The resources could be either financial, human, physical resources or the services they provide.

4. Equity/Equality: All citizens, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, beliefs and locations, should get equal opportunities to the services, information and the resources of the local government. However, the resource distribution should be based on the equity approach. For this purpose, Local Self-Governance Act – 1999 and Rules 1999 have mandatory clauses to prepare database system and resource and map of districts and municipalities.

5. Management Innovation/Capacity Enhancement: Local authorities need to have a capacity to change their organizational structure and working procedures in order to increase their efficiency, develop low cost techniques and method, identify potential areas for revenue generation, resolves local problems, and rational use of resources. Adoption of innovation techniques and methods such as computers, GIS, e-mail, internet, computer networking, intercom are some of the examples.

6. Strategic Vision: An ideal local government should have a clearly stated development vision with its goals and objectives. This helps pave the course of action and achieve them on time and within a limited resource. Plans and programmes of a local authority should strictly be based on vision and the development objectives.

7. Meaningful Participation/Consensus Based Decisions At All Levels: Local government should encourage people or clients to make them actively involved in development activities. The meaningful participation in the decision-making entails the identification, prioritization, implementation, monitoring and supervision. Conceptually, the main element of people’s participation is the conscious, purposive and enlightened involvement of the people of their own accord in the process of the of their welfare.

8. Predictable: The people or the clients can predict the consequences of the government behavior with their queries if the existing Acts, Bye laws, directives, and guidelines are fair and enforced impartially. Therefore, a local government should create such as environment. This can be achieved through the effective implementation of service/citizen charter, preparation of review reports, and operationalization of computerized financial accounting package.

9. Rule Of Law: To be an ideal local government, a local authority should formulate its policies, bye laws and guidelines within the legal framework of Acts and Rules. Local government activities should be guided by the Acts, Rules, Bye laws and guidelines instead of directed by interest of political parties at local levels and individual interferences. Information-based planning and decision-making system is the one, which helps reduce such biases.

10. Decentralized Management: Further diffusion of power and responsibilities to lower units and staff is necessary to accomplish local level activities with effective and efficient manner. An ideal local government should delegate its authority to lower units in a meaningful way, develop mechanism to monitor the performances of the delegated authority, activate the mechanism and reassess the nature of organization and the number and type of authorities delegated.

11. Networking/Linkage Development: For efficient and effective mobilization of own and external resources, exchange human resources and improve technologies, a local government should make better coordinate and linkages with other local governments, donor and concerned stake holders exchange human resources and improve technologies.

12. Innovation of NGOs/Civil Society And Self Help Organization: Local government should be able to make policies, strategies and enforce them to incorporate civil society, private sectors, and self-help organizations into local development initiates. The initiation of public-private partnership schemes and other joint initiatives would help enhance management capacities of local government on one hand, and uplift the economic conditions of the local people on the other. Besides, local government should handover certain activities such as service delivery to private sectors.

13. Sustainability: Unless development activities carried out by local governments are sustained in terms of financial and human resources, the aim of good governance will be jeopardized.

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