The objects of local authorities are confirmed to include taking measures or engaging in activities or doing such things in accordance with law including expenditure as it considers necessary or desirable to promote the interest of the local community.
A measure, activity or thing is deemed to promote the interest of the local community if it directly or indirectly promotes social inclusion or social, environmental, recreational, cultural or community development, the general development including enterprise and economic development of the administrative area or of the local community.
Service Delivery Plan
Each local authority is to prepare a service delivery plan, annually. It is to be consistent with the budget and expenditure estimates. It is to take account of best practice and service delivery. The plan is to include statements of the principal services to be provided, objectives and priorities for the delivery of these services, performance standards, manage the assessment of performance including identification of relevant indicators and such other matters as the Minister may provide.
In preparing its service delivery plan, the local authority is to take account of such policies and objectives in relation to its functional programs as set out in any other plan, strategy or statement, any service level agreement or other documents prepared under the legislation.
The service plan is to be prepared in consultation with the elected members following adoption of the budget, in accordance with timescales and procedures prescribed by regulations. It is to be considered by the elected members and adopted by resolution with or without amendment.
The local authority is to include in its annual report, an assessment of its delivery of services during the year concerned relative to the service delivery plan. This is to include a reference to performance standards and indicators.
The Minister having consulted with National Oversight and Audit Commission and other departments may make regulations in relation to the performance standards against which effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery may be measured. Provision may be made for comparison of local authorities or classes of local authorities.
The Minister may issue guidelines on the content and preparation of service, delivery plans, their publication and such other matters as are considered appropriate. Local authorities must have regards to such guidelines.
Consultation with the community
The local authority is to take such steps as it considers appropriate to consult with and promote effective participation by the local community in local government. It may establish Strategic Policy Committees, consult with local, sectoral, community and other groups, arrange for representation on relevant committees of persons having knowledge or experience of relevance to the work of the committee, consult or recognise association, make arrangements for the attendance and raising of issues by interested persons at meetings of the authority and committees and arrange for information meetings and dissemination of information to the public.
Each local authority is in accordance with general guidelines issued to prepare a Framework for Public Participation. This is the purpose of promoting, developing and implementing coherent and integrated approach to participation in the decision making processes of the local authority and the local community.
The Framework is to provide mechanisms for participation and support and to facilitate
- the local community’s input into decision-making by the authority and any requisite consultation procedures under any law,
- clear and transparent mechanisms for the selection of members of the local community to participate in such mechanisms,
- mechanisms to monitor and evaluate participation by members of the local community, mechanisms to provide for accountability of such participants,
- mechanisms for the provision of information by the local authority to the community.
Ministerial guidelines may provide for assistance to the local community for the preparation of strategies within municipal districts for the well-being of all; provision of opportunities for networking, communication and sharing of information with the local community; mechanisms to support inclusion of socially excluded groups; developing capacity and supports for public engagement consultation procedures and processes; participatory mechanisms; accountability mechanisms.
Where any legislation requires publication of notice or on the local authority’s website and the submission of observations, the local authority may take such additional steps as it considers appropriate to publicise, facilitate and promote the consultation process to the use of other forms of communications including electronic forms of communication and local radio stations. Materials may be made available at appropriate locations including on the Internet.
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