District Service Commissions in Uganda: Functionality, Pitfalls, and Recommendations for Action

This policy brief presents issues from District Service Commissions (DSC) generated from the training of the statutory bodies in 34 districts in Uganda in November and December 2020. The Policy Brief presents recommendations to local governments, the Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of Public Service for action. The issues and proposals made in this brief are the contexts of the decentralisation framework that has been evolving since 1992. It should be noted that in 1992, Uganda adopted devolution as a form of decentralization and as a way of deepening governance and improved service delivery to the people they serve through the transfer of real power and reduction of the workload of the central government; ensuring participation of citizens and democratic control; achieving good governance as a prerequisite for an efficient public service; bringing political and administrative control over services to the point of delivery; freeing local managers from central constraints; and improving the capacity of local governments to plan, finance, and manage service delivery. Decentralization was premised on the notion that local governments are better placed to respond to the needs of the local communities. The purpose of this policy brief is therefore three-fold; (i) to highlight the issues that were observed to limit District Service Commissions to function as is expected; (ii) to share some of the best practices by the District Service Commission in different districts; and (iii) to propose solutions to different stakeholders on what needs to be done to enhance the functionality and effectiveness of the DSC.