The Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) is a public management development, education and research institution devoted to promoting Ghana’s decentralization agenda. It was commissioned in May 1999 as a project of the Ministry of the Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and in July, 2003, the enactment of the Institute of Local Government Studies Act (act 647) transformed ILGS into a legal entity.
The core business of the institute as provided in “the Institute of Local Government Studies Act of 2003 (Act 647) are training, management development, research, consultancy and advisory services, documentation and information dissemination services, academic and other higher educational programmes and certification. Section 4 of Act 647 identifies the objectives of the institute as to organize the training of:
- Members of the regional coordinating councils, district assemblies and lower local government units
- Staff and personnel in the local government and related sectors and
- Any other person or body, local or foreign interested in governance to enhance the managerial, administrative, financial and operational efficiency of organs and units of local government.
The functions identified by the law for attaining the above objectives are as follows:
- Arrange courses, workshops, seminars and conferences for persons engaged in areas of local government
- Undertake and promote research in local governance
- Develop training materials for members of the RCCs, District Assemblies and other local government units
- Publish relevant literature
- Develop specialized libraries for purposes of local government
- Prescribe the qualifications of person eligible for training at the institute
- Provide consultancy and advisory services to the Central Government, units of local government and other parties requiring such services
- Collaborate with national and international institutions of relevance
- Award certificates, diplomas and higher qualifications as may be agreed upon by the institute and approved by the National Accreditation Board; as well as
- Perform other functions assigned by the minister.
ILGS exists to strengthen the capacities of district assemblies, regional coordinating councils and other interested parties to deliver efficient and effective local governance in Ghana by providing excellent management education, training and development, research and consultancy, information mobilization and dissemination services.
To be a centre of excellence for building, strengthening and consolidating local governance in Ghana for the delivery of sustainable decentralized development.
Information Communications Technology often refers to as ICT, covers any device or arrangement that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form. For example, personal computers, digital television, email, robots. So, ICT is concerned with the storage, retrieval, manipulation, transmission or receipt of digital data. Importantly, it is also concerned with the way these different uses can work with each other. ICT includes any communication device or application, encompassing: radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning. ICTs are often spoken of in a particular context, such as ICTs in education, health care, local governance or libraries. The Institute of Local Government Studies therefore considers ICT as a key factor in the delivery of its mandate and services to clients.
The ICT Department of ILGS
The ICT department is mandated to cater in general for the ICT needs of staff of the institute. It will achieve this through formulation and design of policies to integrate ICT and data management into all activities of the institute. It therefore ensures meeting the hardware needs of the institute including advice and acquisition as well as upgrade of computer systems including overseeing the establishment of ICT centres of excellence to support both academic and scheme based programmes.
These also include design and setup of networks and databases to ensure scientific capture and documentation in collaboration with the information and documentation center. The department also is responsible for design and development of relevant software and programs to support both academic and training programmes. It also maintains general security systems and responsible for the institute’s website design, upgrade and hosting as well as design tailor-made courses in ICT and computing to be delivered to clients and functionaries of the local government system in Ghana and the sub region.
Scope of ILGS ICT Policy
In order to develop an ICT driven capacity building and training agenda, the policy has a general outlook and focus on the following thematic areas:
- Systems Support
- Networks including internet, intranet and extranet
- Databases and knowledge systems
- IT Security
- ICT Centres of Excellence
- Programmes Support
The purpose of the Institute’s ICT policy is to provide a framework for
- Content development and ownership
- Information management and dissemination
- Infrastructure planning and implementation
- Systems development and deployment
- Human resource development and retention
This is done with ILGS’s partners and stakeholders in mind with annual reviews with possibilities of amendments and upgrades. The standards and guidelines in this document provides a framework for adequate levels of quality in information and information management, uniformity of systems and tools, disaster recovery and security, data integrity and interchangeability, software compatibility, seamless inter-connectivity and structured campus-wide IT planning with our other regional campuses in mind.
The Institute desires to maintain a highly motivated team with adequate skills in hardware, software, network and programming to provide direct systems support including frequent overhaul of Institute’s and staff computers and peripherals including printers and scanners. Maintain continuous upgrade and replacement of hardware. Ensure to the barest minimum IT downtimes across workstations and offices and advising management on new trends in ICT to ensure smooth running and keeping pace. Staff guided and ensured they adopting the best practice and standards in using the Institute’s ICT infrastructure for required purposes.
Hardware Acquisition and Maintenance
The policy on hardware including computers and peripherals such as printers, scanners and personal digital assistants (PDAs) including servers is to provide management on the purchase and acquisition of new hardware at competitive cost and value-for-money to the Institute. The Institute will besides using its own resources, submit proposals to development partners and stakeholders for support in hardware acquisition.
Software in terms of operating system, applications and systems programmes shall be acquired on licensed basis to ensure security. The Institute through the ICT department will be advised on the purchase and acquisition of software to aid processes. At best the Institute will rely on its technical staff to design inhouse and tailored applications for use to achieve organizational goals. The Institute’s website, knowledge management systems and database shall be designed and maintained inhouse unless the capacity to do so does not exist inhouse. ICT staff will be encouraged and supported to upgrade their skills in new trends and programming.
The Institute shall maintain a comprehensive Students’ management database securely hosted in cloud with all the access level restrictions including online applications and eLearning systems support for both graduate and professional programmes.
Networks availability is key to supporting not only staff research and development but ensure seamless engagement of our clients and stakeholders. As a result, the Institute will ensure campus wide network connectivity (both cables, fiberoptic) and wireless. This will ensure high speed internet broadband (4G) access in every block and office as well as all regional campuses.
With the development of multimedia applications and the increase in computing power, higher networking speeds and different networking techniques may be required in the near future. In this direction the Institute shall take appropriate steps towards securing funds for direct investment in new wiring within buildings of the various faculties and departments as well in anticipation of new building blocks. The campus Wide Area Network (WAN) shall have priority at all times with wireless routers installed across all access points for the benefit of staff, programme facilitators, lecturers and students.
Social Media Presence and Web 2.0 Technology
The ILGS as a policy maintains strong social media presence. This is evident in the fact that it has accounts (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) for the main website and its LGPF project website. It will for that matter maintain social media accounts for any other project. The institute incorporates all social media presence into its websites thus ensuring web 2.0 compliant with live tweets and live streaming of events.
The availability of central email directory, database, backup and archive services ensures the provision of coherent service to users on their own machines. Adequate resources shall be made available for a considerable expansion of the email servers.
The security of the Institute involves logical and physical security including hardware, software and general physical security. Software programmes will have up-to-date security updates including antivirus programmes on all Institute’s computers including adequate password protections. CCTVs have been installed with 32 cameras monitoring campus wide activities day and night. These are all linked to a central system and web enabled ensuring remote access and monitoring to safeguard hardware equipment and property in general.
The ICT department will ensure daily and random playback of activities on the camera system to ensure there is no intrusion and breach of security at the Institute’s premises.
ICT Laboratories and Centres of Excellence
The Institute through the ICT department will build state-of-the-art ICT laboratories with e/Distance Learning facilities as well as Geographic Information System at the various campuses. This will support teaching and learning at both the graduate and professional levels. The laboratories will serve as promoting and supporting the Institute’s Centres of Excellence (CoE).
The ICT department will be required to prepare a dynamic three-years IT Plan. A percentage of the Institute’s annual budget will be earmarked for the implementation and utilization of IT tools and applications in support of the business of the Institute. Part of this budget will cover capacity building and training to ensure the required skill levels for maximum use of IT tools and applications. Requisite budget should also be made available for portable, institutional system development. IT budgets cannot be re-deployed for any other purpose except the planned IT activities within the IT plans.
Skills Upgrade and Continuous Development
The staff of the ICT department will be required and supported to engage in refresher and skills development programmes both local and international. This will ensure efficient service delivery and high productivity to achieve overall organizational goals.
The success of this policy hinges on the enabling environment to pursue the vision and mission of the Institute of Local Government Studies. Sustaining ICT requires the support, leadership and commitment from top-level and management as well as staff to champion and see through the implementation of the policy. Structures must be put in place to complement each other in the areas of infrastructure development, generation of adequate funding and relevant investments and development partners engagement to augment the efforts of the Institute. This must be done with the appropriate fiscal and regulatory incentives for innovations, human resource development, and maintenance management systems.
Plans to ensure that this policy is sustainable would be vigorously pursued through the following measures: Identifying sources of funding for acquisition and maintenance of equipment, and training ICT staff of the ILGS.