Drafting instructions were sent to the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (OCPC) for the preparation of the Bills regarding the three (3) Strategic Laws which are: The Local Governance Bill, The Local Government Financing and Financial Management Bill and the Local Government (Unified Services and Employment) Bill. This was based on Cabinet Decision dated October 23, 2013, which approved the Ministry of Local Government & Community Development's intention to promulgate these laws which seek to improve (i) the scope and power, (ii) the financing and financial management and (iii) the management of human resources, of the LAs.
Proposed Local Government Finance & Financial Management Act
A Local Government Finance & Financial Management Act is being promulgated. This will seek to consolidate and replace the Parochial Rates & Finance Act and Parts of the KSAC Act that deals with the financing of the Corporation. The result is the creation of a single Act in respect of the financing and financial management of Local Government, including procurement, the budget process, & accounting/financial management standards, guidelines and procedures.
Proposed Local Governance Act
Promulgation of such an Act is essential for creating one uniform Act for Local Government in Jamaica, and thereby automatically eliminating the numerous anomalies that exist between the KSAC and Parish Councils. It will ensure that the legislation reflects the concepts and principles of participatory local governance, local self-management and community empowerment, rather than the old paradigm of centrally controlled local government, which infuses the existing Acts.
Proposed Local Government (Unified Services and Employment) Act
The Municipal Services Commission and Parish Councils (Unified Services) Acts which establish the Municipal and the Parish Councils Services Commissions are being revised/consolidated. This will among other things, create one unified service for all local government employees and one Services Commission to oversee management of the Unified Local Government Service. It will ensure the adoption and application of appropriate human resource management concepts, principles and practices in managing personnel employed to the Councils.
Inclusion of Local Government in the Constitution
This is necessary to ensure that Local Government is protected against arbitrary actions by Central Government. This means that in instances where Central Government may have oversight and some directional powers regarding Local Government, such powers must be exercised within the constitutionally defined guidelines.
The existing legislative framework for the regulation of building activities in the Island is outdated and impedes effective regulation and development of a modern building sector. A modern legislative framework is relevant in view of the need to reduce the vulnerability of the built environment and ensure public safety and welfare, minimize damage caused by natural or man-made hazards, prevent squatter settlements and promote sustainable development.
The Government of Jamaica has therefore decided to establish a building control for Jamaica, comprising a new National Building Code and a new Building Act; and to repeal the Kingston and St. Andrew Building Act and the Parish Councils Building Act.