Records Management Manual; game changer for Local Government Service—Nana Ato Arthur  

By Samuel Akumatey

Ho, Aug. 19, GNA – Dr Ato Arthur, the Head of the Local Government Service (LGS), has hailed the prospects of a new Records Management Manual to help transform local governance in the country.  

The manual was developed with the support of the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) to guide the establishment of a records management unit at the Assemblies and develop an effective system for the control of records.  

Dr Ato Arthur, in a speech read for him by Mr James Oppong Mensah, Chief Director of the Service, at the opening of a management workshop for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), said the manual would thus enhance local service delivery by helping provide the needed transparency and accountability.   

“The success of the MMDAs in their day-to-day activities thrive on good governance, transparency, and accountable service delivery, a key component of which is an effective record management system.   

“It is important to note that the success of local government units, particularly MMDAs, is not complete without an effective Records Management System.  

“A comprehensive Records Management Manual has been developed for the Local Government Service. This Manual is a game changer if we want to change the status quo of our records management and address the challenges,” he said.  

Dr Ato Arthur noted how the value of records had greatly appreciated with the passage of the Right to Information Act and said MMDAs should support the transformation of the records management regime.  

“As a Public Service Institution, the quality of the services we provide to our clients largely depends on how well we manage and provide information for effective decision-making. In fact, since the passing of the Right to Information Act, 2019 (ACT 989), it has become more expensive to have a disorganized records management system, especially in tandem with the role of MMDAs in the governance system of the country,” he said.  

The JICA collaboration is a three-year project that began in 2020, which among others, would develop and operationalize an effective Records Management Unit (RMU), and a Fixed Asset Management (FAM) system at all levels of the Local Government Service.  

The project would also help improve the general administration and human resource management systems of the Service.  

The Head of the Service said the Records Management Units, aside from maintaining sound record-keeping, would provide training for the records management staff, and work towards inter-unit collaboration.  

He said inadequate staff remained a “major affront to the effectiveness of the Unit”, and that class of staff would be enhanced to help maintain their quality and relevance.  

Dr Ato Arthur said low information sharing and a lack of willingness to embrace digitization in records management were also challenges, which culminated in correspondence lags within local government administration.  

He reiterated the government’s commitment to digitizing the various sectors of the economy and was sure the manual would facilitate the transition within the Service.  

The workshop in Ho was the first of a nationwide series and benefited MMDCEs in the Volta and Oti Regions.  

Mr Oppong Mensah, bringing his perspective on the subject, indicated that poor record management affected all local Assemblies and that MMDCEs should come together to solve it.  

He said challenges of ghost names, and other corrupt administrative practices could be traced to bad record management and advised the Executives against the establishment of personal record units at their offices.  

The Chief Director asked them to help establish and maintain strong lines of administrative procedure, to ensure an uninterrupted flow of correspondence and more effective communication with the people.  

“If you don’t have time for your correspondence, it means you don’t have time for your people. Someone might be doing something for you, and you might not be aware,” he cautioned.  

Mr Oppong Mensah was glad the records management manual would address the professional capacity at the RMUs, noting how sensitive data were being handled by the inexperienced.