The Dominica Association of Local Authorities is a voluntary umbrella body representing the interest of Local Authorities in the State. It replaced the Dominica Association of Village Councils, which functioned from the mid 1960’s to the mid 1970’s. Upon its reinstitution in December 1990, the Association assumed the name Dominica Association of Local Authorities as its membership consisted of more than the Village Councils but rather, the forty-one (41) Local Authorities, Roseau City Council, Portsmouth Town Council, Carib Reserve, Canefield Urban Council and thirty-seven (37) Village Councils.

Its objectives are as follows:-

1.     To protect and promote the interest, rights, functions, and privileges of Local Authorities.

2.     To provide a medium of communication and to confer with Central Government Departments and other bodies on matters affecting Local Government in the State.

3.     To promote and develop social, cultural, educational and recreational activities for the benefit of Local Authorities.

4.     To provide a forum for Local Authorities to address matters of common interest, such as Legislative and Administrative proposals, with a view to taking common action.

5.     To assist in the provision of responsible and efficient Local Government.

6.     To seek representation on Government and Public bodies.

The Association is managed by an Executive Committee consisting of a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Secretary/Treasurer, Public Relations Officer and one Committee member.

These officers are elected at the Annual General Meeting attended by three delegates from each of the seven District Council Associations, and one delegate each from Roseau, Portsmouth and Carib Councils.

Council have done this in several ways. The Constitution of each Council makes provisions for the establishment of subcommittees, to attend to specific aspects of the community’s development. As a result, some Councils co-opt leaders of other groups and organizations as well as professionals in their communities to serve as members on these sub-committees. These committees are either term of the Councils which formed them.

Another way in which Councils work with other groups is by participating in community coordinating committees. These committees comprise representative from each of the groups and organizations in the community and as the name suggests, they coordinate development activities in the community. This coordination is necessary in order to avoid duplication of projects undertaken by the organisations in the community and as the name suggests, they coordinate development activities in the community. Coordinating committees also provide a forum through which Councils undertake planning activities for the community.

Councils, in spite of their special status, are not able to respond to all the development challenges of their communities on their own. They need to work together with other community-based groups and organisations. In so doing, each organisation is able to complement each other’s resources and expertise. The Councils, being able to harness resources from central Government agencies, and regulate undesirable activities in the communities, are capable, as the principal governmental organization in the community, to give some direction to the development of the community. The other organisations, with their ability to access funding from Non Government Organisations and to attract voluntary community support for development projects, are well placed as partners in the local development process.

This arrangement does not by any means comprise the primary and essential authority of the Council. In fact where Councils have adopted this approach effectively they have been able to cultivate the level of respect and confidence expected from the community as a whole. This approach to local development management is necessary if the principle of popular participation is to be maintained as part of the system of Local Government.