Improving accountability for government programmes through Parliamentary Outreaches

Democratic Governance
The outreach programme is helping to bridge the gap between the public and their elected representatives, ensuring greater citizen participation in governance and better service delivery. (UNDP Uganda 2013)

In 2008, the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, her deputy, the leader of the opposition, and several ministers and lawmakers, made their way to the central western district of Masaka to launch an outreach forum.

Highlights

  • The Parliament Outreach Programme is part of UNDP’s Strengthening Oversight Functions for Accountable Service Delivery project under the Accountable Democratic Governance programme.
  • In addition to the outreach, several Parliamentary committees have been trained to track the budget in real time and be able to advocate for better service delivery from both the local and central government.
  • The project also works closely with the Auditor General’s office, local government councils, the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament and the Committee on State Authorities and Parastatals as well as the National NGO Forum, to encourage the public to demand for accountability from Government for the funds.

The forum, the first of its kind in Uganda was aimed at bringing Parliament closer to the people and enable the public to interact more closely with their elected representatives and hold them accountable.

Since then, four other regional outreach forums have been held so far - in Gulu, Kalangala, Fortportal, and Moroto districts - bringing together the leadership of Parliament and district leaders, councillors and civil society representatives.

Through this initiative, the speaker of Parliament has been able to meet and get information on some of the challenges facing local governments particularly in the area of service delivery and to advocate for improvements.

Dison B. Okumu, the director of Corporate Planning and Strategy in Parliament says that the programme has helped keep an audit on Members of Parliament in their constituencies to see if they really are representing their people’s needs.