We all want quality education, transport and health services.
To achieve this, some decisions are best taken by the central government
and others by the authorities who are in direct contact with citizens.
Decentralisation is a tool for ensuring that our everyday needs
are met, for developing trust in authorities and for building peaceful
societies. However, deciding on who does what and how budgets are
assigned is never easy. In recent years, many decentralisation processes
have failed, stalled or been reversed.
It is the way we use decentralisation that can bring either
success or failure. This is why the processes through which decisions
about decentralisation are made need to be fair and transparent.
Parliaments are elected to represent the will of the people and
must be central actors in such processes. While every country needs
to develop its own unique model, some approaches – such as involving
parliaments from the early stages, enshrining essential elements
of decentralisation in legislation, and promoting a consensus-building
culture – are vital.
This report examines challenges and successes, and makes recommendations
on how parliaments can help in building a shared vision of quality
public service, as well as in putting it effectively into practice.