DFID Sierra Leone and other donors have been supporting a long term
project to re-establish decentralised governance in the towns and
districts of Sierra Leone. Local councils have now been in operation for
seven years and are set to receive greater fiscal transfers from central
government. With options now opening up to channel additional resources
through decentralised local councils, this study was commissioned to
assess: (a) the impact of local councils on the delivery of pro-poor
development, particularly the delivery of basic services and on
opportunities for poor people to articulate their voice; (b) the
institutional strategies and power relationships that affect local
councils' capacity to fulfil this design purpose. The fundamental
question here is whether elected local councils have provided a more
effective means – or perceived to be more effective – of delivering
development outcomes and responding to the needs of the poor.
Specific questions addressed in the study:
- Have local councils had a material impact on development outcomes in
terms of the delivery of basic services?
- Have local councils improved pro-poor decision making and enhanced
poor people's voice in local level political structures?
- To what degree have local councils used their power to deliver
development outcomes that would not otherwise have taken place?
- To what degree have established local power networks particularly
chiefs ? been affected by the establishment of local councils?
- What are the major constraints upon making local councils more
powerful actors in delivering pro-poor development and enhancing poor
people's voice in local decision making?
- How do local people and civil society groups perceive local council
operations, particularly in comparison and contrast to existing
Successive sections of the report analyse findings from the four
research components (literature review, key informant interviews, focus
group discussions and a quantitative survey of 600 questionnaires
covering four districts: Bo, Bombali, Kono and Western Area Rural
District (WARD)). The report concludes with responses to the main
research questions. A full version of the literature review is annexed
along with the tabulated survey results.
Fanthorpe, R.; Lavali, A.; Sesay, M. G. Decentralization in Sierra Leone: Impact, Constraints and Prospects. Fanthorpe Consultancy, Purley, UK (2011) 105 pp.
Decentralization in Sierra Leone: Impact, Constraints and Prospects.