Local Government - strengthening local and regional council structures

The National Strategic Vision for Local Government clearly suggests that the Government is determined to continue strengthening the roles of Local and Regional Councils

Local and Regional councils should remain relevant in our society as they are a reference point for residents and the locality. Therefore, the Government’s commitment to strengthen local councils is delineating itself through sustaining the administrative core of Local Councils. In recent weeks, two events were organised to help kickstart the implementation phase of the National Strategic Vision.

Indeed, 48 executive secretaries for local government have been assimilated in the public service, following last year’s signing of a new collective agreement for Local and Regional councils’ executive secretaries. This is another step forward to enhance the administrative aspects within the Local Government sector. Such investment seeks to improve the quality of services provided by both Local and Regional Councils. This is now possible as the Government remains determined to consolidate the role of the executive secretaries as part of the public service. Through this appointment, the executive secretaries will have more security and peace of mind in their respective roles.

The duty of Executive Secretaries is one that involves several responsibilities including that of chief executive, administrative and financial roles within the Council. Continuously, the executive secretary is responsible in compiling and signing of the minutes of Council’s meetings. Moreover, the executive secretary submits administrative reports annually whilst responsibly oversees the implementation of decisions confirmed by the council. Furthermore, the executive secretary assures that the funds allocated are invested in the most effective and efficient manner.

Consequently, the executive secretaries are being more present and active in addressing the challenges and needs of their respective citizens within their locality. During the appointment of the executive secretaries as public officials, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Local Government Alison Zerafa Civelli supported the importance of recognising the essential role of executive secretaries within our communities through their official appointment in the public service. Additionally, the President for the National Association for Executive Secretaries of Local and Regional Councils, Paul Gatt maintained that the appointment as an officer within the public service leads to more dedication and accountability from executive secretaries as this will be reflected within the public service.

Apart from this recognition toward the executive secretaries, the Association for Local Councils in collaboration with the Parliamentary Secretariat for Local Government held a plenary meeting. During this meeting, various stakeholders of Local Government discussed present common needs and opportunities for Local Councils. Hence, the presence of regional council presidents, mayors, councilors, executive secretaries, and administrative staff of the councils facilitated a more open discussion. Furthermore, the stakeholders also had the chance to discuss the 30th anniversary from the establishment of the Local Councils. These meetings always serve to discuss current trends but also to present an opportunity for stakeholders in sharing best practices in tackling challenges and adopting them for the benefit of residents from a wider perspective.

During this plenary session, the present stakeholders had the opportunity to share their ideas whilst participating in one of the five workshops. The themes of these workshops were:

  • Local Government - Work aimed for the improvement of the residents’ quality of life.
  • Human Resources and Adequate Financial Planning for Local Government.
  • A Plan to strengthen both the administrative and elected roles.
  • Good Governance for more effective results.
  • The Local Councils’ Association Role.

Present for this meeting, Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government, Alison Zerafa Civelli spoke on how such meetings are intended to improve dialogue between all stakeholders. Such discussions are necessary for the local government to adapt to the diverse needs faced in its daily routine. Additionally, the Parliamentary Secretary encouraged the stakeholders that these positive attitudes are resulting in councils achieving high standards in good governance whilst also improving the quality of service for both residents and localities.

The President for the Local Councils’ Association, Mario Fava, added that such meetings benefit stakeholders in comprehending their role in being closer to the residents. Furthermore, Mario Fava remarked that the Association remains committed in being of assistance to the local and regional councils to assure a positive outreach in the lives of residents.

The Government clearly remains committed that Local and Regional councils are a relevant component within our localities. Events such as the plenary meeting and the investment of the executive secretaries as public officers are in accordance with the National Strategic vision.

The aim of this vision is the development of local governments in improving the quality of life of residents and our communities. Consequently, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Local Government will sustain the importance of Local and Regional Councils so that the goals identified in the Strategic Vision are met effectively.