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Wednesday, 20 January 2016 10:56

Promoting Accountability in JLOS

 

Conceptual Premise

The concept of Accountability denotes an obligation of an individual or organization to account (answer) for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner. It also includes the responsibility for money or other entrusted property. Accountability means ensuring that officials in public, private and voluntary sector organisations are answerable for their actions and that there is redress when duties and commitments are not met.


The Constitution of Uganda provides that all public offices shall be held in trust for the people. Therefore, all persons placed in positions of leadership and responsibility  shall, in their work, be answerable to the people. All lawful measures shall be taken to expose, combat and eradicate corruption, abuse or misuse of power by those holding political and other public offices. This requirement is realized through various institutional and individual public service standards contained in policies, legislation, regulations, guidelines, standing orders, and codes of conduct. In the same vein, under Article 17(1)(i) of the Uganda Constitution, it is a duty of all citizens to combat corruption and misuse or wastage of public property.

In the JLOS context, in addition to the public service standards, the JLOS SIP III and the JLOS Anti-Corruption Strategy are explicit on matters of accountability. Under JLOS Outcome III on promoting accountability, the Strategy provides for three result areas; internal accountability, external accountability and the fight against corruption.

Accountability in practice is demonstrated in various perspectives and at different levels. The different perspectives include; presentation of periodic performance reports, presentation of financial reports, conduct of internal and external audits, conducting staff performance appraisals, conducting disciplinary measures, among others.


The different levels of accountability include; Sector accountability, Institutional accountability, intervention (activity/project/program) accountability, process accountability, and individual staff accountability.


Institutionalizing Accountability

Accountability is an institutionalized (i.e. regular, established, accepted) relationship between different actors. One set of people/organisations are held to account (‘accountees’), and another set do the holding (‘accounters’). Once these practices are made a part of an institutional regular way of operation, then that denotes the institutionalization of accountability. Accountability cannot be a one-off event but rather a regular practice that ensures that all stakeholders work by set standards.


In JLOS, there are various codes of conduct, procedural guidelines, and program documents that have inbuilt accountability mechanisms. These define interventions, processes, monitoring for results mechanisms, oversight structures and reporting lines. These frameworks set standards relating to program or activity interventions at institutional level, together with corresponding JLOS staff responsibilities.
There are many ways in which people and institutions can be held to account. It is useful to think of an accountability relationship as having up to three stages: standard setting, answerability and sanction for errant conduct and reward of exemplary service.


1) Standard setting: setting out the behaviour expected of the ‘accountee’ and the criteria by which they might validly be judged. For instance, the JLOS SIP III, and JLOS Work plans are program standards against which the Sector and JLOS MDAs are held to account. In addition, institutional Client Charters serve to set standards against which services are to be delivered and therefore premise against which institutions are held accountable.

At an individual or staff level, codes of conduct such as the Public Service Standing Orders, the Uganda Prisons Service Standing Orders, and the Judicial Code of Conduct are in place to guide individual conduct and performance. These standards not only guide execution of mandates, but also prevent abuse of entrusted mandates.

Periodically, institutions and staff are expected to account or answer for their actions, the use of public resources provided, the exercise of authority and demonstrate results against the set performance standards.

2) Answerability: a process in which accountees are required to defend their actions, face sceptical questions, and generally explain themselves. This applies both to negative or critical as well as to positive feedback.

The JLOS Sector and institutions receive funding to implement programs and interventions. As an act of accountability, the Sector’s Semi-annual and Annual Progress Performance Reports are a demonstration of accountability. The JLOS MDAs such as the UHRC provide accountability in their periodic reports that are presented to Parliament for scrutiny.

There are also non-structured mechanisms of accountability that largely involve public participation. These include Community Barazas, Community Outreaches/ Dialogues, Public Open Days, JLOS Service User Committees, and public inquiries or consultations among others.

Where accountability provided falls short of expected performance under the standard set, a sanction mechanism comes into play.

3) Sanction and reward: a process in which accountees are in some way punished for falling below the standards expected of them (or perhaps rewarded for achieving or exceeding them). An effective sanction system must be implemented consistently to build a culture of respect for codes and standards. When sanctions are enforced rarely, no matter how severe, the punishments seem more like random bad luck for the targets, rather than the legitimate consequence of violating or not meeting the standards that have been set.
The Sector has two types of sanction systems; criminal justice sanctions and the administrative sanctions. Criminal sanctions follow the criminal justice pattern and trial before courts of law for abuse of set standards. Various legislation define such abuses, including corruption, as crimes triable in courts of law. Administrative sanctions are administered at institutional levels by the various oversight mechanisms including Disciplinary Units, Supervisors, and Tribunals.
In addition to the above, persons who have been found to offer exemplary performance are recognized and rewarded. This is the flip side of the sanction of errant conduct. 


In many cases, the accountability process sounds very formal and like a legal trial, but most accountability sequences are not as formal, and/or do not include all these stages. However, accountability is also how those in power are held publicly responsible for their decisions. This helps to highlight that accountability is not only a set of institutional mechanisms or a checklist of procedures, but an arena of challenge, contestation and transformation.

 

By Musa Modoi | Published: January 20, 2016

 

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 Promoting Accountability in JLOS: Concepts and Strategies (pdf)

Published in Accountability
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 13:06

JLOS Participates in 2015 Anti-Corruption Week

 

KAMPALA - The Justice, Law and Order Sector – a key stakeholder in the fight against corruption participated, along with other agencies, in this year’s anti-corruption week that held under the theme, “Stop Syndicate Corruption for Better Service Delivery”.  In partnership with the Inspectorate of Government, Directorate of Ethics and Integrity, Office of the Auditor General and the Public Procurement and Disposal Agency (PPDA) supported by the German Government through Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), JLOS institutions participated in various activities in commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption week from December 2 – 9, 2015. The activities were aimed at creating massive awareness about corruption, its effects and encourage the public and the media to join in the strong fight against the evil.

Published in Latest News

Membership of the Human Rights and Accountability Working Group is drawn from the 17 JLOS institutions and non-State actors. The Working Group may also co-opt persons from other institutions if the matter under discussion so requires. The current membership of the working group is as follows;


JLOS Institutions
1.    Uganda Law Society (ULS)
2.    Judiciary
3.    National Community Service Program (NCSP)
4.    Non-Government Organisations’ Board (NGO Board)
5.    Amnesty Commission (MIA-AC)
6.    Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)
7.    Uganda Prisons Service (UPS)
8.    Judicial Service Commission (JSC)
9.    Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD)
10.    Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC)
11.    Law Development Centre (LDC)
12.    Ministry of Justice & Constitutional Affairs (MoJCA)
13.    Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC)
14.    Uganda Police Force (UPF)
15.    Department of Citizenry and Immigration Control (DCIC)
16.    Uganda Law Council (ULC)
17.    Centre for Arbitration and Dispute Resolution (CADER)
18.    Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT)
19.    Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB)
20.    Ministry of Local Government (Local Council Courts)


Non-State Institutions
1.    Independent Development Fund (IDF)
2.    National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU)
3.    JLOS Development Partners Group Focal persons (JLOS DPG)
4.    Human Rights Network (HURINET)
5.    Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)
6.    Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda (ACCU)


Leadership
The leadership of the Working Group is determined by both the Technical Committee and Group membership.


Chairperson
The Chairperson of the Working Group is Mrs. Grace Babihuga Nuwagaba (Uganda Law Society) and the Alternate Chairperson is Mr. Bisereko Kyomuhendo (Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs -Human Rights Desk). The Chairperson of the Human Rights and Accountability Working Group is selected by the Technical Committee from its membership, while the Alternate Chairperson of the Working Group is determined annually by members from among the membership of the Working Group.

Published in Management Structures
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 12:54

Human Rights and Accountability

 

 

Introduction

The Human Rights and Accountability Working Group is a thematic sub-structure of the JLOS Technical Committee that is responsible for the development and oversight of sector interventions to strengthen and promote human rights and accountability programs, processes and structures.

The Working Group enables deeper consideration of human rights issues within the broad spectrum of enhancing access to justice for all, specially the vulnerable persons. This is a response to the need for more effective and better institutionalized linkages that was identified in the JLOS Mid Term Review as affecting the level of impact and implementation of JLOS programs. Therefore, the Group is a key driver in improving the promotion, protection and respect of human rights within JLOS institutions and also ensuring accountability in service delivery.

 

Establishment
The Working Group is an extension of the JLOS Technical Committee and offers in-depth consideration of JLOS interventions that is otherwise not be possible in the Technical Committee. The Working Group reports to the Technical Committee for decisions related to resource allocation and management. It is resourced by the JLOS Advisor for Human Rights and Accountability, whose mandate includes providing technical advisory support, coordinating the Group’s activities and acts as the link to the JLOS secretariat.


Mandate and Functions
The mandate of the Group is to support the Technical Committee in the implementation of the JLOS SDP and in monitoring and evaluation of JLOS interventions.


The Group has to ensure that issues concerning the Human Rights and Accountability component influence the agenda of the Technical Committee and Steering Committee, and bring to the fore emerging issues of national importance.


The Working Group handles matters relating to;
1.    Promotion and protection of human rights at individual and institutional levels;
2.    Promotion of internal and external JLOS accountability;
3.    Adoption and implementation of the Anti-corruption measures in JLOS;
4.    Promotion of accountability in Transitional Justice, and
5.    Handling emerging broader human rights and accountability thematic issues.

The Human Rights and Accountability Working Group has various functions that include;
a.    Promote observance of human rights and accountability within JLOS MDAs;
b.    Identify constraints to the achievement of the Human Rights and Accountability programs to the sector structures for redress;
c.    Monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Human Rights and Accountability Reform Programs;
d.    Prepare analysed and comprehensive progress reports on Human Rights and Accountability programs within the overall program for the Technical Committee;
e.    Recommend relevant changes to JLOS SIP III implementation activities as necessary;
f.    Respond to issues raised by the Technical Committee, Steering Committee and Leadership Committee;
g.    Benchmark the JLOS Human Rights and Accountability interventions against other successful sectors/models;
h.    Support sector publicity;
i.    Support the sector in lobbying for funds;
j.    Develop action plans and budgets for the Human Rights and Accountability component;
k.    Perform any other tasks that may be assigned by the Technical Committee. 

When implementing its functions, the Group is obliged to continually mainstream cross-cutting issues  (such as poverty, gender, conflict, HIV-AIDS , and environment) in all activities and also focus on pro-poor programming, low cost but efficient initiatives, vulnerable groups, and bear sensitivity to conflict/post conflict affected areas.

The Working Group is required to provide a work plan supported with a procurement plan to the JLOS secretariat at the end of each financial year.

Membership
In line with SDP:
1.    To the extent possible, each JLOS institution is required to nominate at least two (2) suitable representatives to the Working Group. One is be a senior technical person knowledgeable in the thematic area, and an alternate.
2.    Civil Society Organizations and private sector bodies are expected to express interest in participating in the Working Group. Once deemed relevant and admitted to the Group, a CSO is required to nominate one suitable representative to the Working Group.


The selected representatives/members are expected to:
1.    Attend meetings regularly and participate in the activities of the Working Group;
2.    Provide feedback and report on  implementation of programs;
3.    Provide their respective institutions with reports and updates on the work of the Working Group.

Membership of the Working Group shall be drawn from the 17 JLOS institutions and non-State actors. The Working Group may also co-opt persons from other institutions if the matter under discussion so requires. The current membership of the working group is as follows;


JLOS Institutions
1.    Uganda Law Society (ULS)
2.    Judiciary
3.    National Community Service Program (NCSP)
4.    Non-Government Organisations’ Board (NGO Board)
5.    Amnesty Commission (MIA-AC)
6.    Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)
7.    Uganda Prisons Service (UPS)
8.    Judicial Service Commission (JSC)
9.    Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD)
10.    Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC)
11.    Law Development Centre (LDC)
12.    Ministry of Justice & Constitutional Affairs (MoJCA)
13.    Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC)
14.    Uganda Police Force (UPF)
15.    Department of Citizenry and Immigration Control (DCIC)
16.    Uganda Law Council (ULC)
17.    Centre for Arbitration and Dispute Resolution (CADER)
18.    Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT)
19.    Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB)
20.    Ministry of Local Government (Local Council Courts)


Non-State Institutions
1.    Independent Development Fund (IDF)
2.    National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU)
3.    JLOS Development Partners Group Focal persons (JLOS DPG)
4.    Human Rights Network (HURINET)
5.    Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)
6.    Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda (ACCU)


Leadership
The leadership of the Working Group is determined by both the Technical Committee and Group membership.


Chairperson
The Chairperson of the Human Rights and Accountability Working Group is selected by the Technical Committee from its membership, while the Alternate Chairperson of the Working Group is determined annually by members from among the membership of the Working Group.


The Chairperson has the following functions:
a)    Chairs Working Group meetings;
b)    Communicate key issues and suggestions made by the Working Group to stakeholders;
c)    Manages timely progress of meetings and tasks assigned to members;
d)    Provides strategic direction for the Working Group;
e)    Presents reports to the Technical Committee on behalf of the Working Group.

Secretary
The Advisor- Human Rights and Accountability is the Secretary to the Working Group. The Secretary is responsible for timely documentation of the submissions, minutes and any documentation for the Working Group and the contact person for the same.
Meetings of the Working Group


The Group endeavors to meet on a monthly basis.  The Chairperson determines the date and venue for the meetings of the Working Group. The Secretary is responsible for invitations to the meetings of the Working Group.  Unless otherwise agreed, notice of each meeting informing members of the venue, time, date and agenda is sent to the members of the Working Group a week in advance.


Quorum
A quorum is dully constituted by a simple representative majority. A duly convened meeting of the Working Group, at which quorum is attained, is competent to exercise all or any of the powers and authority vested in or exercised by the Working Group.


The Human Rights and Accountability Group is one of the five Working Groups that the Technical Committee operates through, with a focus of deepening JLOS interventions especially regarding promoting the observance of human rights and accountability within the Sector. The concerted efforts of the JLOS Working Groups should substantially contribute towards the promotion of the rule of law in Uganda.

Published in Priority Focus Areas
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