Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), championing appropriate utilisation of public funds through social accountability strategies, have underscored the need for citizens to be involved in all development process in their communities.
The CSOs said the inclusion of the marginalised in the development process would help strengthen the nation's decentralisation effort; and ensure active citizens' participation.
Among other recommendations was the need to strengthen the dissemination of information between the Assembly and citizens through the publication of the Assembly's projects, contract requirements to aid citizen contractors bid for the project, and the erection of sign posts at project sites with project details on them.
The CSOs made the recommendations in Accra, during a meeting to validate findings on the data collected to assess a three-unit Children and Maternity Ward at Abokobi Health Centre over a three-year period.
The Ga East Social Audit Committee (SAC) community scorecard (CSC) assessment constitutes an activity under the project "Enhancing citizens' participation and social accountability at the district level".
The project is a component of the Support for Decentralisation Reforms (SfDR) programme being implemented jointly by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the German International Cooperation (GIZ).
The project sought to enhance the active participation, prudent management and utilisation of public resources, responsiveness by local authorities and improved quality of service delivery.
Under the auspices of GIZ, the programme is being managed by four lead CSOs, and People's Dialogue the lead CSO for the Greater Accra and Eastern Regions.
Active CSOs were identified as counterpart entities to support the implementation; these selected entities became the SAC for the Ga East Municipal Assembly.
Intervention Forum (IF), a local non- governmental organization, among the selected counterpart entities worked under the direct oversight of Peoples Dialogue in partnership with the Ga East Municipal Assembly to facilitate the implementation of this project within its jurisdiction.
Madam Nora Ollennu, Chief Executive Officer of IF, noted that the findings were based on four indicators; planning, contracting, implementation and monitoring.
She noted that from a scorecard of one to five, under 'planning' the duty bearers were scored 3.67, 3.0 and 3.80 by the community members, health directorate and health centre, respectively.
She said the community's involvement during the selection of the project through town hall meetings, the reduction of the choke in the old school block due to the population increase were some of the reasons that influenced the average score.
Madam Ollennu said with regard to 'contracting' the indicator recorded the lowest average among the four indicators, its total average was 2.32 which represents bad, adding "some of the reasons were the failure of the assembly to publish the tender in the print media and on community notice boards".
She said with implementation being the execution stage, duty bearers were scored a total average of 2.98 which when rounded up, would fall under the just okay column.
The immediate users of the facility, the pregnant women and health centre scored them 2.27 and 2.75 respectively.
Madam Ollennu said the last indicator being 'monitoring' recorded a total average of 2.48 which represented bad; the beneficiaries made complaints of not having the appropriate channels to make their worries known.
She said some of the citizens said they were unaware of their right to undertake any monitoring activities, adding that "these reasons among others influenced the total average of this indicator".
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mr Alex Amoah, immediate past Planning Officer at Ga East Municipal Assembly, expressed the hope that the Assembly would embrace the recommendations and ensure all issues were addressed.
He said, however, citizens also had a role to play, by helping to mobilize funds to undertake various projects through the payment of their rates, particularly property rates, stating that "the District Assembly Common Fund alone will not be enough".
Mr Kojo Anane Frimpong, a representative of People's Dialogue, also told GNA that to be able to monitor more projects and ensure there was value for money, SAC and the Assembly must continuously work together.
He said citizens were to be aware of the happenings within their respective district assemblies, monitor their annual budgets and action plans, so that under this project they identified SAC, which comprises the CSOs working, community members and the assembly representative.