Local Government Reform Laws Passed

Story Highlights

  • Three strategic laws, which are the fundamental planks to undergird Local Government Reform, were passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, November 10.
  • The Bills are the Local Governance Bill; Local Government (Unified Service and Employment) Bill; and the Local Government (Financing and Financial Management) Bill.
  • The pieces of legislation were piloted by Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott.

Three strategic laws, which are the fundamental planks to undergird Local Government Reform, were passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, November 10.

The Bills are the Local Governance Bill; Local Government (Unified Service and Employment) Bill; and the Local Government (Financing and Financial Management) Bill.

The pieces of legislation were piloted by Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott.

Commencing the debate on the Local Governance Act 2015, Mr. Arscott said it is intended to create the framework within which local authorities will operate with greater scope and autonomy.

“Additionally, it will provide new and clear standards of accountability for local authorities, and place extensive public consultation and participation at the heart of the new environment of governance,” he added.

The Bill provides for establishment of a framework to accommodate the various types of local authorities; expand their mandate to include sustainable development and the maintenance of civic order; create accountability and transparency mechanisms for local authorities; define the role and relationship between the administrative and political organs of local authorities; and empower civil society and communities in the governance process.

In terms of the Local Government (Financing and Financial Management) Bill, Mr. Arscott said it seeks to identify sources of revenue from which the local authorities will be financed.

“It also provides guidelines and oversight mechanisms for the prudent financial management, accountability and transparency of local authorities,” he stated.

The Bill also provides for the repeal of the Parochial Rates and Finance Act.

“This piece of legislation will provide a comprehensive framework to address the financing and financial matters and management of local authorities. This framework is expected to facilitate efficient and transparent local governance,” Mr. Arscott stated.

For the Local Government (Unified Service and Employment) Bill, it will provide a framework to address human resource management issues in respect of staff employed in the service of Local Government authorities.

The Bill will also facilitate the establishment of a competent workforce with the requisite skills, orientation and commitment to local governance.

The legislation will repeal the Parish Councils (Unified Services) Act, the Municipal Service Commission Act, and the Poor Relief Officers (Unified Service) Act.

In his contribution to the debate, Minister of State in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Colin Fagan, welcomed the passage of the pieces of legislation. “I think this is a good day for the Parish Councils,” Mr. Fagan said.

Opposition Spokesperson on Local Government, Desmond McKenzie, also hailed the passage of the Bills.

The pieces of legislation will now be sent to the Senate for its approval.

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