Functional Assignments and Public Accountability
This study focuses on the functional assignment of roles and responsibilities to the lowest level of Cambodian and Indonesian local governments. Legislation related to assigning functions is used to assess the functional assignment process. This study finds that the current functional assignment process fails to ensure local governments’ downward accountability towards the public. The central government and line ministries remain the main decision makers in functional assignment process where they have power to insist or delay the process. It is observed that, despite legislation assigning functions in a broad manner consisting of obligation and mandatory functions, there is a lack of any meaningful functions such as education and natural resource management devolved to local governments. Indonesian legislation has provided some mechanism and principles in assigning and withdrawing functions, while Cambodia fails to facilitate even modest control within local government. Ultimately, there is a need for a well-established legal framework that is responsible for functional assignment in accordance with local government capacity and resources ensuring that the local governments have meaningful devolution while holding accountable to their constituents.
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