The Office of the Controller of Budget (OCOB) released the Ward Development Fund Guidelines through the circular number 26 of 2014. The Ward Development Fund guidelines should help the counties to actualize and operationalize the Fund.
Ward Development Fund should enable the counties to finance projects at the ward level.
The Ward Development Fund guidelines should aid the counties in establishing the Fund to adhere to established laws. These laws include the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act and the Constitution.
The Controller of Budget expects the Ward Development Fund guidelines to improve reporting and accountability of public funds.
What the Ward Development Fund guidelines stipulate
The Ward Development Fund guidelines formulated by the Controller of Budget stipulate a number of issues. These are concerned with the establishment of the Fund, the approval of the Fund, and the operationalization and administration of the Fund.
The Ward Development Fund Guidelines also speak about the roles of the Members of the County Assembly (MCAs), County Executive, and the county residents. The Ward Development Fund guidelines also require provisions for monitoring, evaluation, and auditing of the Fund.
Establishment of the Ward Development Fund
First, a county entity or a relevant department identifies the need to establish the Ward Development Fund. It forwards this proposal to the County Executive Member for Finance. The County Executive Member for Finance then submits the proposal to the County Executive Committee for approval.
When the County Executive Committee approves the proposal, the County Executive Member for Finance will then draft a County Bill or County Regulations. The Bill or the Regulations will establish and operationalize the Ward Development Fund.
Approval of Ward Development Fund Bill or Regulations
The County Executive Member for Finance will then submit the Ward Development Fund Bill or Regulations to the County Assembly for approval. Once the County Assembly approves the Ward Development Fund Bill, the county governor assents to the Bill. The County Government then publishes the Bill in the Kenya Gazette.
Operationalization and Administration of the Ward Development Fund
The County Executive Member for Finance will designate an administrator to operationalize the Fund. The functions of the administrator include:
- Preparation of financial statements for the fund;
- Operating a bank account for the fund;
- Preparation of quarterly financial statements for the fund, which the administrator submits to the County Treasury and the Controller of Budget.
Every county should keep only one bank account for the Ward Development Fund. The administrator of the Fund should be a mandatory signatory to the bank account.
The County Executive should undertake the implementation of the Ward Development Fund programmes and projects.
The County Public Service Board should address staffing needs for purposes of administering the fund.
Role of the Members of the County Assembly and Residents
The Constitutional requires a clear separation of powers between implementation and oversight. The MCAs should play a role in mobilizing the residents of each Ward to identify priority projects for each financial year. In identifying these projects, public participation is critical.
Role of the County Executive
The County Executive should be responsible for implementing the projects funded by the Ward Development Fund. It should implement the list of priority projects that the MCAs and members of the public identify after they receive them.
The County Executive must include the projects in the planning documents for the financial year (Annual Development Plans) and the County Fiscal Strategy Paper. No funds should be appropriated (allocated or spent) outside a planning framework. The County Executive should also include the projects in the budget estimates in accordance with programme-based budgeting.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The Members of the County Assembly should play oversight and monitor implementation of projects financed by the Ward Development Fund.
The Ward Development Fund Bill or Regulations should stipulate provisions for auditing the Fund.
Points to note from the Ward Development Fund guidelines
- The County Executive should formulate the Bill or Regulations to operationalize and administrate the Ward Development Fund.
- The Ward Development Fund should only come into operation upon approval of the Bill or Regulations by the County Assembly.
- Only the County Executive should manage the Fund and Implement projects and programmes financed by the Fund. In the principle of separation of powers, MCAs should not take part in this function.
- Public participation is critical. County residents should identify priority projects that the Ward Development Fund should finance.
- The MCAs should monitor and play oversight on the appropriation of the Fund and the implementation of projects financed by the Fund. They should also mobilize residents to identify priority projects for the Fund to finance.
(Here is the link for the Ward Development Fund guidelines).
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