Strengthening Decentralization for Sustainability (SDS) is a USAID-funded program that aims to strengthen the coordination of activities at the district and sub county levels, improve district mobilization and management of resources for social sector programs, and support innovative approaches to social sector service delivery. The program supports 35 districts in Eastern, Central, and Western Uganda.
A number of the SDS partner districts have identified a need for adopting a more comprehensive legal framework to advance priority local government (LG) objectives in the social sector. In response to this need, SDS provided technical and grant support—including this guide to drafting social sector ordinances and bylaws.
This initiative promotes decentralization, a key policy reform adopted by government to promote democratization, improve service delivery, and enhance good governance in LGs. The policy was upheld by the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda (1995) and operationalized by the Local Governments Act Cap 243, as amended. The rationale for decentralization was to shift power from the central government to lower governance levels.
The main areas of focus under decentralization are:
- Political powers – Conduct periodic elections for LG leaders
- Financial powers – Collect and appropriate resources in their budgets
- Administrative powers – Recruit and manage staff within LGs
- Planning powers – Make development plans for respective areas
- Legislative powers – Enact ordinances and bylaws
- Judicial powers – Participate in dual functions; i.e., appointed officials such as local councils at the village/parish level also double as local courts at the sub county/town/division levels
The purpose of this guide is to enable the reader or user appreciate the drafting process of ordinances, which, when enacted, would strengthen service delivery in local governments.