Strengthening Local Government Service Delivery Systems Through the Open Government Initiative: The Case of Botswana

The Government of Botswana has, and continues to promote local government as an instrument of decentralization and public participation for local level governance and service delivery. Local authorities (LAs) are at the forefront of the provision of basic services to the local communities. The LAs are also a major channel for the use of public resources as exemplified by the significant budget allocations committed to them. It is, therefore, important that they conduct their business in the most effective and efficient manner. In order for public sector systems to deliver effective localized services, LAs in Botswana should be gradually transformed from bodies that are mainly concerned with pushing services but to proactively engage their citizens and represent their communities’ interests. Considering the extent of responsibilities of the local government authorities, there is a need to set clear expectations and have structures to ensure that local bodies respond to local needs by conducting local development in a timely, inclusive, open, honest and accountable manner. As some of the many efforts required to improve governance and service delivery in the country this paper proposes the establishment and operationalization of an Open Local Government Framework, within which local bodies will be supported to make extensive local government information available online as part of an online LA notice board. This paper also recommends for the production of a Local Authority Data Book as a foundation for evidence-based policy-making and policy implementation.