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Introduction

COUNTY ASSEMBLY COMMITTEES

An Assembly Committee is a group of Members of the Assembly designated to do the detailed work of the Assembly. The Members are expected to work together toward a common goal, and may work without the restrictions of formality.

The power and mandate of the Committee are for the whole Committee not its individual members i.e. the mandate of Committees has to be exercised or discharged at a properly constituted meeting. No decision of the Committee is binding unless the meeting was properly constituted in terms of notice of meeting, quorum and the leadership.

Committees of the Assembly make recommendations to the Plenary of the Assembly in the form of resolutions. Their recommendations may or may not be acted upon by the Assembly or may be rejected or ignored altogether.

IMPORTANCE OF COMMITTEES

Committees are integral parts for the conduct of Assembly business. An effective Committee system makes the Assembly to be more responsive to the needs of the electorate while making the role of the Members more relevant and the democratic process more representative of, and accountable to, the views of the electorate.

Committees are important in at least the following four ways:

  • Committees can conduct public hearings where representatives or organizations and experts on particular subjects may be invited to give advice. This allows Committees to be more effective in making sound decisions while allowing groups of citizens a voice in policy making.
  • They provide opportunities for public input into the legislative processes.
  • They relieve the pressure of business on the floor of the Assembly and therefore contribute to the achievement of efficiency
  • Committees conduct detailed investigation into an issue which may not be carried out efficiently and effectively by the whole parliament and therefore contributes to the attainment of democratic ideals especially transparency and accountability.
  • Make legislators work faster
  • Enables legislators  get full details in specific issues before the house
  • Make the Assembly perform many tasks at the same time

Meeting point between legislators and the executive

  • reviewing legislation;
  • scrutinizing the county government’s activities, policies and programs and whether they meet the objectives of legislation as intended; and
  • conducting investigations and inquiries into matters relating to their mandate.

FUNCTIONS OF COMMITTEES

Budget Making Process

-  Scrutinise Budgets

-  Table a Report for Members consumption

-  Present resolutions before the Budget Committee

-  Monitor expenditure on the projects Approved

-  Summon the Executive from time to time

-  Ensure absorption rate capability by the Sector

 

Oversight Role

-    Ensure Efficiency and Effectiveness of sectors

-    Check progress as often as possible

-    Ensure success in the Sectors

-    Make reports  and recommendations from time to time

 

Legislative  Function

-    Most important role is to Make Laws

-    Understanding the Bills brought by Executive and Individuals

-    Scrutinize Bills and ensure Public Participation

-    Develop Bills as a Committee

-    Process the Bills ( 1st, 2nd Reading and Committee of the whole House)

 

Representation Role

-    Ensure public Participation- especially in legislations

-    Always be the peoples representatives

-    Take petitions seriously

 

Oversight Role

-    Ensure Efficiency and Effectiveness of sectors

-    Check progress as often as possible

-    Ensure success in the Sectors

-    Make reports  and recommendations from time to time

 

Public Access to meetings of Committees;- (Standing Order 179)

Article 196 of the Constitution provides that all Committee proceedings shall be open to the public and facilitate public participation and involvement unless in exceptional circumstances the Speaker has determined that there are justifiable reasons for the exclusion of the public.

Committees of the County Assembly are established and operate pursuant to the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, the Standing Orders, other enabling legislation and Resolutions of the House.

The Standing Orders provide for the following broad types of Committees namely-

1.    Select Committees;

2.    Sectoral Committees(departmental committee)