Home Devolution The Role and Functions of the County Public Service Board in Kenya

The Role and Functions of the County Public Service Board in Kenya

The origin of the County Public Service Board is because of Article 235 of the Kenyan Constitution (CoK) 2010. Article 235 contains the provision for the staffing of county governments.

According to this law, every county should have its own public service known as the county public service.

Article 235 stipulates that the county government is responsible for–

  • establishing and abolishing offices in its public service;
  • appointing persons to hold or act in those offices, and confirming appointments; and
  • exercising disciplinary control over and removing persons holding or acting in those offices.

However, the above clauses do not apply to positions or office under the Teachers Service Commission.

Therefore, every county should have a County Public Service Board, which primarily handles the county’s human resource management.

The County Governments Act provides the framework of uniform norms and standards for staffing for county governments. Part VII of the Act deals with the county public service.

The County Secretary appointed under Section 44 of the County Governments Act is also the head of the county public service.

The composition of the County Public Service Board

(1) The County Public Service Board should comprise—

  • a chairperson, whom the county governor should nominate and appoint with the approval of the county assembly;
  • not less than three but not more than five other members, whom the governor should nominate and appoint, with the approval of the county assembly; and
  • a certified public secretary of good professional standing, whom the governor should nominate and appoint, with the approval of the county assembly, who is the secretary to the board.

The appointment of the members of the Board should be through a competitive process.

A person qualifies to become a member of the County Public Service Board if that person—

  • satisfies the provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution (on Leadership and Integrity);
  • is not a state or public officer (See: Terms used in the Constitution);
  • in the case of chairperson or vice-chairperson, possesses a minimum qualification of a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university and working experience of not less than ten years; and
  • in the case of any other members—
    (i) possesses a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university and working experience of not less than five years; and
    (ii) is a professional, demonstrates absence of breach of the relevant professional code of conduct.

A member of the Board should hold office for a non-renewable term of six years. The member may serve on a part-time basis.

Removal from office

The members of the Board can only be removed from office—

  • on grounds set out for the removal of members of a constitutional commission under Article 251(1) of the Constitution; and
  • by a vote of not less than seventy-five per cent of all the members of the county assembly.

The County Public Service Board should elect a vice-chairperson from amongst its members. The chairperson and vice-chairperson should be of the opposite gender.

The functions of the County Public Service Board

The functions of the County Public Service Board should be, on behalf of the county government, to—

  • establish and abolish offices in the county public service;
  • appoint persons to hold or act in offices of the county public service including in the Boards of cities and urban areas within the county and to confirm appointments;
  • exercise disciplinary control over, and remove, the persons holding or acting in those offices;
  • prepare regular reports on how the Board executes its functions and submit them to the County Assembly.
  • promote in the county public service the values and principles referred to in Articles 10 and 232 of the Constitution;
  • evaluate and report to the county assembly on the extent to which the county public service complies with the values and principles referred to in Articles 10 and 232;
  • facilitate the development of coherent, integrated human resource planning and budgeting for personnel emoluments in counties;
  • advise the county government on human resource management and development;
  • advise the county government on implementation and monitoring of the national performance management system in the counties;
  • make recommendations to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, on behalf of the county government, on the remuneration, pensions, and gratuities for county public service employees.

In appointing a person as a secretary to a board of a city or an urban area, the County Public Service Board shall ensure that such a person is a certified public secretary of good professional standing.

The reports on how the Board executes its functions should contain the details of persons appointed including gender, persons with disabilities, persons from the minority and marginalized communities.

The powers of the County Public Service Board

While performing its functions, the County Public Service Board shall have powers to—

  • inform and educate county public officers and the public about the values and principles (Articles 10 and 232);
  • recommend to the county government effective measures to promote the values and principles;
  • assist the county government to formulate and implement programmes intended to inculcate in public officers the duty to uphold the values and principles;
  • advise the county governments on their obligations under international treaties and conventions on good governance in the county public service;
  • visit any county public office or body to assess and inspect the status of compliance with the values and principles;
  • investigate, on its own initiative or upon a complaint made by any person or group of persons, the violation of any values and principles;
  • recommend to the relevant lawful authority, any necessary action in view of the violation of the values and principles by any person or public body;
  • cooperate with other institutions working in the field of good governance in the public service; and
  • perform any other functions as the Board considers necessary to promote the values and principles.

Report on values and principles

We have seen already that one of the functions of the County Public Service Board is to evaluate and report to the county assembly on the extent to which the county public service complies with the values and principles referred to in Articles 10 and 232 of the Constitution.

The report by the County Public Service Board above should reach the county assembly by December each year. It should include—

  • all the steps the Board has taken and the decisions it has made;
  • specific recommendations that require to be implemented in promoting and protecting the values and principles;
  • specific decisions on particulars of persons or public body who have violated the values and principles, including action taken or recommended against them;
  • any impediment to the promotion of the values and principles; and
  • the programmes the board is undertaking or has planned to undertake in the medium term (3-5 years) towards the promotion of the values and principles.

The County Public Service Board should publish the report in the county gazette. It should do so not later than seven days after tabling the report before the county assembly.

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George Githinji
George Githinji
Githinji is passionate about devolved governance, public finance and cycling. He also comments on topical socio-political issues. In addition, he manages the @UgatuziKenya platform.

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