The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission, (PURC) has organized a three-day workshop on Administrative Law and Dispute Resolution for its regional complaint officers and technical staff. The training took place at the Coconut Grove Regency Hotel in Accra from October 24-26, 2023.
The main objective of the training was to improve the skills of complaint officers who are responsible for resolving utility service-related disputes across the country. The Commission seeks to continually enhance the capacity of its staff to manage the complaint processes at the regional facilitation and mediation stages. An important aspect of this is to ensure that these facilitation and mediation processes are conducted within the parameters of the law, to minimise legal risk to the Commission.
The workshop was facilitated by His Lordship Justice Dominic Adjei, Justice of the Court of Appeal, and Emmanuel Amofa ESQ, a lawyer and managing partner of Amofa & Partners, Attorneys and Arbitration Practitioners.
Speaking on behalf of the Executive Secretary, Ing. Emmanuel Fiati, the Director of Water Services and Performance Monitoring entreated the participants to seize the learning opportunity and use the training as a platform to ask questions and clear any misunderstandings relating to Administrative Law.
On the first day, participants were given insights into Administrative Law and Adjudication as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution and other laws of the country. The presentation explained the legal framework and instances in which, courts exercise judicial review over administrative bodies. On the second day, the presentation focused on the distinction between negotiation and mediation, with clarity provided on the facilitation of settlement of complaints. Other modules covered, included settlement meetings, the skill of identifying issues, and the preparation of settlement agreements. The facilitators devoted the final day to case studies to engage the participants in practical exercises on distilling issues from facts, identifying interests and positions, caucusing, and drafting of settlement agreements.
The participants included the Commission’s Regional Managers and Complaint Officers from Greater Accra, Volta, Ashanti, Eastern, Upper East, and Upper West Regions. Additionally, staff from the Energy Services & Performance Monitoring, Water Services & Performance Monitoring as well as Research and Corporate Affairs Directorates were in attendance. Through the interactive approach, the participants fully grasped the topics for easy and consistent application to the Commission’s complaints resolution mandate.
Mrs. Nancy Atiemo, Director, Legal Services in the Commission, expressed gratitude to the facilitators for sharing their rich experience in Administrative Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution with the participants. This, she said, would help enhance the complaint management systems in the ten PURC Regional Offices and inspire public confidence in the work of the Commission.