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District League Table 2017


2017 DLT FAQs

Ghana’s District League Table 2017

Frequently Asked Questions and Methodology Note

1.      What is the District League Table?: The District League Table (DLT) is produced annually by UNICEF Ghana and CDD Ghana, in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Office of the Head of Local Government Service. It is a tool for strengthening social accountability between the state and its citizens for development. It is a simple ranking tool of the level of development across the entire country at the level of each of Ghana’s 216 Districts. Instead of rating Districts by administrative compliance, it ranks them in terms of their level of wellbeing in six key sectors: health, education, sanitation, water, security and governance.


2.      What is the DLT’s objective?: The DLT aims to increase social accountability for development across the country so as to improve state responsiveness in development and service delivery. It aims to support Government in better understanding and monitoring development across the country, and to support citizen’s access to information and knowledge on rights on development in their Districts.


3.      How was it developed?: The development of the DLT was complex and involved several steps to agree with key stakeholders which indicators should be used in the construction of the index. Once the indicators for the index were agreed upon, data was gathered from the relevant MDAs, representative of the 6 key sectors: health, education, sanitation, water, security and governance. Numerous challenges were encountered regarding data availability, despite the public nature of all data sources – many indicators are not reliably available at the District level on an annual basis. In addition, up-to-date, annual District indicators are not routinely made available, making data access a substantial obstacle.


4.      Which MDAs were involved in the DLT design? The agencies that collaborated to produce the District League Table are: The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service, Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Services, Community Water and Sanitation Agency, Ghana Police Service, and Ghana Statistical Service.


5.      How were the indicators for the DLT selected?: Basic criteria were used to pre-select potential indicators in 2014 before a consensus approach was used to arrive at agreement with the partner MDAs. The criteria used were: the indicator had to be a key priority for people’s wellbeing and development; it had to be available at the District level in an annually produced national database for every District in Ghana; and it had to assess the change resulting from development interventions (i.e. outcomes, outputs) rather than measuring the process to achieve such change, – i.e. not inputs such as percentage of budget spent etc. Several important issues in Ghana still do not have such indicators available for them – such as violence, agriculture, roads or social protection.


6.      Which indicators were used?: Across the 6 key sectors, the District indicators agreed upon with MDAs are: average District BECE pass rate; skilled delivery at birth; institutional neonatal survival rate; rural water coverage; percentage of communities certified open defecation free (ODF); police personnel coverage; and performance score under the FOAT.


7.      How was the index of the DLT constructed?: The 7 indicators were aggregated into a single index score for each District using a common approach of taking the simple average of the 6 sectors. Health is made up of two indicators of which the average is used. The DLT is only to be used to provide a holistic overview of District development, and not as a measurement of performance in an individual sector. More detail on the District League Table’s methodology is available in the Methodological Note on the UNICEF and CDD websites: and or


8.      Does the DLT rate the performance of District Assemblies? Is the DLT to be used to force District Assemblies to perform better?: The DLT does not measure ‘performance’, and does not measure efforts of District Assemblies. Rather the DLT measures how developed a District is. Importantly, District development levels are not necessarily driven by District Assemblies. In many cases the majority of service provision and resources is delivered and managed from central authorities such as GES and GHS, with DAs receiving only marginal proportions of responsibility and funding for service delivery. For DAs to be able to increase their responsiveness to citizens for service delivery, they need to be further empowered to receive clear assignments, budget allocations and autonomy from the central level. In the meantime, agencies with central level responsibility for service delivery should scale-up efforts for support to target those Districts that rank the lowest in the District League Table.


9. Were Districts consulted in advance on the DLT?: The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Office of Local Government Service lead in organizing extensive briefing meetings on the DLT prior to its annual launch in all regions with Regional and Districts stakeholders invited. In addition to these meetings across the country, we share the annual DLT results in all 10 regions and discuss its implications with Districts and Regional bodies.


10. Where did the data for the DLT come from?: No surveys were undertaken or data calculated for the DLT. All the data is routine, administrative data produced officially on an annual basis in a relevant MDA database using District’s own produced data. The education indicator is given to us from the Education Ministry’s EMIS, the health indicators from the Health Ministry’s DHIMS, the sanitation information from Environmental Health and Sanitation in MLGRD, the water indicators from Community Water and Sanitation Agency, the governance indicator from the FOAT in MLGRD, and the police information from Ghana Police.


11. How will the DLT be used?: The DLT is developed every year, using the same methodology to compare the changes over time and observe the overall progress in development across the country. As GoG monitoring systems improve, new indicators could be used in future years. Already, the sanitation indicator improved between 2015 and 2016 as new data became available. The DLT ranking indicates how far (or near) Districts are in providing full access to basic rights – as such, it will be used to observe improvements in development from one year to the next.


12.   Won’t the DLT encourage Districts to ‘fiddle’ a sector’s figures to get more favourable results so as to do better next year?: The DLT is an index made up of indicators from 6 sectors. There will not be a focus on an individual sector or indicator so there should be no incentive to tamper with the data. Data is also verified and compiled centrally in official MDA databases.


13.   Why did UNICEF and CDD-Ghana undertake to develop this league table?: Across the world, many mechanisms to strengthen accountability between the State and its citizens emerge from civil society given their independent role. In Ghana’s case the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and now the Office of the Head of Local Ghana Service collaborated on the initiative as part of their work to promote social accountability.


14.   Why did Tema Metropolis in Greater Accra come out in first place in 2017?: Tema Metropolis had the highest score in the District League Table of 80. The District has an education indicator well above average, a very high health indicator, a very high level of water coverage, a high police coverage, and a high governance score. However it has not certified any communities as Open Defecation Free.


15.   Why did Krachi East in Volta region come in last place?: Krachi East scored the lowest on the District League Table at 50.66%. This is because it scores medium-low education, medium-low water coverage, very low in sanitation, above average in health, above average in security, and high in governance.


16.   North Tongu was in bottom place last year, how has its situation changed since 2016?: North Tongu has seen its score improve from 40.93% to 56.88% this year, leading to its rise up the table from 216th place to 196th place. Its security, health, and education indicators have improved.


17.   Which region did best and which worst?: In terms of absolute average scores in 2017, the Upper West Region does best with the highest average regional score of 68.9%. The Eastern Region has the lowest average score of 61.3%.


18.   Why does the DLT rank Metropolitans, Municipalities, and Districts alongside each other?: Regardless of where one lives, everyone has equal right to development and the same access to services. It is often stated that Metropolitans and Municipalities can have greater levels of resources and therefore rank higher than rural Districts. In this year’s DLT we analysed the scores of Metropolitans, Municipalities, and Districts. Indeed, Municipalities are more clustered in the top of the DLT than in the bottom. However, Metropolitans and Municipalities are spread throughout the table and you do find some Metropolitans and Municipalities among the bottom 20 districts.


19.   Why do some Districts do so much better than others?: Numerous factors drive a District’s level of development. While we have seen that the poverty level of the Region can be a key factor, it is not the driving determinant and others such as the equitability of resource allocation from central government are crucial. The ability to raise Internally Generated Funds (IGF), or issues such as good leadership are crucial. Analysis is very much needed to understand what the core factors are and how Districts can improve their development levels by learning from each other.


20.   Will the DLT be used to name and shame underperforming Districts?: No. The DLT does not measure ‘performance’, but rather each District’s level of development. Most resources in Ghana (whether personnel or funding) continues to be allocated by the central level and little goes directly to Districts for District Assemblies to allocate. Development of a District is the responsibility of the Government and other stakeholders as a whole. Where a District ranks poorly in the DLT, this should be a reason to provide that District with additional, targeted support because of the substantial challenges that they face.


21.   I think my District is doing much better/worse than the DLT says, why is this?: The DLT provides a holistic overview of a District’s level of development across 6 sectors. It shows on average how each District is doing. Within this average picture, there may be individual services which people feel are doing worse or better. Or you may be concerned with a particular service for which data doesn’t exist.


22.   What can I use the results of the District League Table for? As a citizen or member of civil society we can use the District League Table to ask questions about the equitability of development across the country and call for change. Government can use it to inform decisions on resource allocation and track national progress in development.


23.   Why are all districts scored on rural water when some districts are urban? The rural water coverage indicator is based on only districts that have rural communities. The few Districts that are fully urban districts with no rural communities are not scored for rural water; their score is averaged by five sectors instead of six sectors. Numerous attempts have been made to gather data on urban water provision by District, but the data is still not available.


24.   Why use police to citizen ratio as the security indicator when district authorities have no control over police postings? The development of a District is the responsibility of the Government and other stakeholders as a whole. Districts are the door way to the implementation of Ghana’s policies at the local level.  With the aim of increasing social accountability and responsiveness, the scores and rank of districts in the DLT is not to blame low-ranking District authorities. Rather, it highlight the state of development of the districts and the need for equitable resource allocation from the Central to Local level. Where Districts have low levels of indicators in security or any other sector, efforts should be made by Government to address that.


25.   Why not use crime rate in districts for the security indicator? There is a challenge with using the crime rate of a district as a proxy for the wellbeing of citizens with regards to security. First, crime rate data are not disaggregated and available by District, and importantly a change in the crime rate does not correlate with a change in crime levels. For example, an increase in the crime rate often occurs due to increased trust or improved reporting services (which is good) and not necessarily from increased crime.



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