In 2016, Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) launched a three-year programme (2016-2019) to support devolution in Kenya. Working with the Senate of Kenya and the newly established County Assemblies, the programme supports increased coordination on legislation and policy to ensure citizens needs are represented at the national and provincial level.
The 2010 constitution created 47 counties and started the process of devolving power in Kenya’s political institutions. The constitutional reform sought to balance local and national interests by bringing the delivery of vital services such as sanitation, education and healthcare closer to citizens. The success of devolution will be judged by the extent to which service delivery effectively and efficiently reaches over 40 million citizens.
WFD is working directly with the Legal Services Department in the Senate of Kenya to enhance the knowledge and skills of staff to create effective legislation. The programme also supports sharing of skills between the Legal Counsel in the Senate and County Assemblies of Kenya, to perform this role effectively. To ensure the sustainability of the programme, WFD also developed a parliamentary legislative drafting manual as a reference guide for the Legal Counsel working within the legislative institutions.
The Senate Country Liaison Office is responsible for coordinating engagement between the Senate and County Assemblies. WFD is supporting data collection from the counties by setting up an information system within the Senate County Liaison Office to inform central policy.
Coordinated communication between the Senate and the County Assemblies is important for public trust in institutions. The programme has exposed both institutions to communication and outreach strategies to ensure important messaging reaches citizens in a consistent manner. This included redesign of the Parliamentary Services Commission website to a more informative and interactive platform.