Preparation Stage – Collecting Information
4.3 Who collects the information?
Municipalities often lack the full skills and expertise needed
to analyse and collate information from various stakeholders. They
may also be unable to put together a terms of reference to enable
the employment of a consultant. Guide steps to engaging consultants
to conduct the assessment include the two listed below.
1. Development of terms of reference for the
Municipalities could seek the advice of key individuals in the
national government or they may put out an advertisement for a
consultant to assist them in developing the terms of reference
for the assessment of the existing situation. The expected output
- terms of reference for the information
- draft letter of invitation.
2. Development of expertise needed for the
collection of information
Although it is advisable to get consultants with specialities
in various areas, it could be expensive and the municipality
may not be able to afford it. However, it may not be
necessary to get consultants for every individual area.
It is advisable that some key municipal staff members work as
consultants to facilitate skills transfer and capacity
development. The key areas where those staff members may require
specific expertise include:
- technical assessment – to assess the technical
assets and services of the utility or agency;
- legal/financial analysis – to review the existing legal and legislative
framework and documents, and to assess the current financial
state and performance of the utility and/or agency; and
- social/community/consumer assessment – to conduct
a study of consumers (including perceptions and willingness/ability
to pay) in the current and proposed service areas and to assess
the impact of proposed private sector involvement on the poor.
In addition, research institutions and academia could help
to collect and find the relevant information. Graduate students
are often willing to collect information for the experience they
get from the working on the project. Nonetheless, experienced
professionals should perform the more sophisticated consultant
tasks, such as providing technical and financial advice.