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The new local government system is made up of a regional coordinating council (RCC) and a four-tier metropolitan and three-tier municipal/DAs structure.

Composition of structure
The RCC consists of the regional minister as chairman and his deputies, the presiding member of each DA and the district chief executive of each district in the region, two chiefs from the regional house of chiefs and the decentralised ministries without voting rights.

A DA consists of the district chief executive,  twothirds of the members directly elected by universal adult suffrage, the members of parliament (MPs) representing constituencies within the district, and not less than 30% of the members appointed by the president in consultation with chiefs and interest groups in the district.

The district chief executive is nominated by the president, approved by two-thirds of the members of the DA present and voting, and appointed by the president. The assembly has a presiding member who is elected from among its members by two-thirds of all the members of the assembly. The sub-district structures include:

• The sub-metropolitan DCs which consist of not less than 25 and not more than 30 members, made up of all elected members of the assembly in that  sub-metropolitan district and such other persons resident in the sub-metropolitan district appointed by the president.
• The urban council consists of not less than 25 and not more than 30 members made up of not more than eight persons elected from among the members of the relevant DA, not more than 12 representatives from the unit committees in the area of authority of the urban council and not more than 10 persons ordinarily resident in the urban area.

• The zonal council consists of not less than 15 and not more than 20 members made up of not more than five persons elected from among the members of the relevant municipal assembly, not more than 10 representatives from the unit committees and not more than five persons ordinarily resident in the zone.

• The town/area councils consist of not less than 15 and not more than 20 members made up of not more than five persons elected from among the members of the relevant assembly, not more than 10 representatives from the unit committees and not more than five persons ordinarily resident in the town or area.

• The unit committee consists of not more than 15 persons made up of 10 elected persons ordinarily resident in the unit and not more than five other persons resident in the unit and nominated by the district chief executive, acting  on behalf of the president.
Elections to all local government bodies are on a non-partisan basis; the elections are state-sponsored and conducted by the electoral commission.

Regional coordinating councils (RCCs)
RCCs are established for each of the 10 regions of Ghana. An RCC is an administrative and coordinating rather than a political and policy-making body. Its functions are to:

• monitor, coordinate and evaluate the performance of the DAs in the region;

• monitor the use of all monies allocated to the DAs by any agency of the central government;

• review and coordinate public services generally in the region

• perform such other functions as may be assigned to it by or under any enactment.

Metropolitan/municipal/district assemblies
DAs in Ghana are either metropolitan (population over 250 000), municipal (one town assemblies with populations over 95 000) or district (population 75 000 and over.) There are three metropolitan assemblies, four municipal assemblies and 103 DAs. A metropolitan/municipal/DA is:

• created as the pivot of administrative and developmental decision-making in the district and is the basic unit of government administration

• assigned with deliberative, legislative as well as executive functions

• established as a monolithic structure to which is assigned the
responsibility of the totality of government to bring about integration of political, administrative and development support needed to achieve a more equitable allocation of power, wealth and geographically dispersed development in Ghana

• constituted as the planning authority for the district.

Functions of the assemblies
These are deliberative, legislative and executive. Section 10(3) of Act 462 lists them as follows:

a) be responsible for the overall development of the district and shall ensure the preparation and submission through the regional coordinating council for approval of the development plan to the commission and budget to minister of finance for the district

b) formulate and execute plans, programmes and strategies for the effective mobilisation of the resources necessary for the overall development of the district

c) promote and support productive activity and social development in the district and remove any obstacles to initiative and development

d) initiate programmes for the development of basic infrastructure and provide municipal works and services in the district

e) be responsible for the development, improvement and management of human settlements and the environment in the district

f) in cooperation with appropriate national and local security agencies, be responsible for the maintenance of security and public safety in the district

g) ensure ready access to the courts and public tribunals in the district for the promotion of justice

h) initiate, sponsor or carry out such studies as may be necessary for the discharge of any of the functions conferred by this Law or any other enactment perform such other functions as may be provided under any other enactment.

Sub-district political/administrative structures
These being subordinate bodies of the DAs, they perform functions assigned to them by the instruments setting up by the assemblies or delegated to them by the assemblies. They are constituted by the sub-metropolitan DCs, urban/town/ zonal/area councils, and unit committees.

Sub-metropolitan DCs
These structures are immediately below the metropolitan assemblies. There are 13 of these structures established by law. These are shown below:This arrangement has been dictated by the complex and peculiar socio-economic, urbanisation and management problems which confront these three metropols.

Urban councils
Urban councils are peculiar to settlements of “ordinary” DAs. They are created for settlements with populations above 15 000 and which are cosmopolitan in character, with urbanisation and management problems, though not of the scale associated with the metropols. Thirty-four of these councils are established by law.

Zonal councils
The zonal councils are in the “one-town” municipal assemblies of Cape Coast, New Juaben, Tamale and Tema, for which the establishment of town/area councils will raise problems of parallel administrative structures. There are 108 of such zonal councils for the four municipal assemblies. They are based on the
electoral commission’s criteria of: commonality of interest, population of 3000 and identifiable streets, land marks, etc. as boundaries.

Sub-Metropolitan District Council under Respective Metropolitan
Assemblies Assembly
Accra Metropolitan Assembly
Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly
Shama Ahanta East Metropolitan Assembly
Ablekuma Asokwa Sekondi
Ashiedu Keteke Bantama Takoradi
Okaikwei Manhyia Shama
Ayawaso
Kpeshie
Osu Klottey
Subin

Town/area councils
These are found in the metropolitan assemblies and DAs. In the DAs, town councils are established for settlements with populations between 5000 and 1500. Area councils exist for a number of settlements/villages which are grouped together but whose individual settlements have populations of less than 5000.

They cover areas with predominantly rural populations and in some cases can be identified with spheres of influence of a particular traditional authority. They are essentially rallying points of local enthusiasm in support of a new local government system.

A unit is normally a settlement or a group of settlements with a population of between 500–1000 in the rural areas, and a higher population (1500) for the urban areas. Unit committees being in close touch with the people play the important roles of education, organisation of communal labour, revenue-raising and ensuring environmental cleanliness, registration of births and deaths, implementation and monitoring of self-help projects, among others.

Committees of District Assemblies
In the performance of its functions, the DA works through the executive committee and its subsidiary committees of development planning, social services, works, finance and administration, and justice and security.

Executive committees
The functions of the assembly are performed by the executive committee, which is presided over by the district chief executive and consists of not more than onethird of the total number of members of the assembly excluding the presiding member. Heads of departments of the assembly attend the meetings of the relevant sub-committees and advise them on the execution of their functions, but may not vote.

A sub-committee can also coopt persons to attend its meetings but also without a vote. The functions performed by the executive committee are to:

• coordinate plans and programmes of the sub-committees and submit these as comprehensive plans of action to the DA

• implement resolutions of the district in collaboration with the office of the DA

• oversee the administration of the district in collaboration with the
office of the district chief executive

• recommend where it considers necessary – in the case of departments outside 364 the supervision of the assembly which are in the district – to the appropriate government ministry/department/agency the appointment and replacement on stated grounds of officers within the area of authority of the assembly

• adopt measures to develop and execute approved plans of the units, areas and towns and sub-metropolitan districts within the area of authority of the assembly

• recommend to the DA the coordination, integration and harmonisation of district development plans and policies.

Sub-committees of the executive committee
The sub-committees of the executive committee and the functions they perform are shown below:

Development planning sub-committee
• takes a comprehensive look at the district
• identifies the economic resources/potentials of the district
• develops an information base on the resources
• identifies opportunities and constraints for the exploitation of these resources
• prepares exploitation and phasing plans and strategies
• consults with other sub-committees and the private sector for the
implications that the proposed district plan may have on other sub-committees’ plans
• submits the plan to the executive committee for harmonisation with other sub-committee plans.

Social services sub-committee
• takes a comprehensive and long-term look at areas of social development in the district, in particular education, health, social welfare, sports, culture, etc.

• develops the information base on these areas of social development

• prepares a social development plan (long-, medium- and short-term) for the district Sub-Committees of the Executive Committees of the Assembly District Assembly, Executive Committee Development Planning Sub- Committee, Social Services Sub- Committee, Works Sub-committee, Finance Administration, Justice/ Security

• identifies the strengths and weaknesses in the social services areas

• examines the implications of the social development plan on other sub-sectors of the district economy

• submits the plans to the executive committee for harmonisation.

Works sub-committee
The functional areas of the works sub-committee includes roads,
electricity, sanitation, water, etc. Within the general framework of Act 462 and the specific functions in the legislative instruments that establish the various assemblies, this sub-committee:

• takes a comprehensive look at the infrastructure needs and problems of the district

• develops an information base on each of these programme/functional areas

• maps out, initiates and phases out programmes for their development and/or provision

• examines the implications of such actions for the other sub-committee proposals

• submits the programmes to the executive committee for harmonisation and action.

Finance and administration sub-committee

This sub-committee
• examines the general financial position of the assembly

• examines the revenue mobilisation and expenditure trends of the assembly

• maps out strategies to improve revenue mobilisation in the present and sets targets for the future

• submits financial plans to the executive committee for harmonisation with other sub-committee plans

• identifies strategies to ensure judicious utilisation of available
resources.

Justice and security sub-committee
This sub-committee is set up to resolve intra-district and inter-district conflicts and to consider issues that pertain to the enforcement of by-laws of the assembly. To achieve these purposes, the sub-committee:

• examines these and other related conflict areas

• recommends to the executive committee ways and means to resolve disputes

• ensures ready access to the courts and tribunals for the promotion of justice in the district, e.g. making sure that premises are available for use by community tribunals and that police logistics are adequate.

A DA can form any other sub-committee, depending on the peculiarities of its environment or its area. The committee’s discussed above are, however, mandatory. They can be dissolved and reconstituted but cannot be replaced, for example by a task force.

Sub-committees of metropolitan assemblies
These and their subject areas are shown in Appendix 2.

Boards of metropolitan assemblies
For the efficient performance of its functions, a metropolitan assembly has three metropolitan boards:
• Metropolitan Planning Board
• Board of Metropolitan Works
• Board of Administration.

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