Okolo and idris (2002) defined ” Delegated Authority as a situation when an individual or institution that is supposed to exercise a particular authority decides to transfer such authority to other bodies or individuals so that they can carry them out on their behalf.”
Delegation means a situation where part of responsibility is given to someone in a lower position in an organization. Those in a position could see authority as official power exercise. Delegated authority is very important in the political system in the sense that it aids good governance in a modem state.
Delegated authority could also be defined as administrative process through which a higher superior authority empowers a lower authority to act in some matters on it behalf. For example local government authorities are given the power to draw up bye laws for the good governance of the council. Another good example of designation is delegated legislation is a kind of law made not by the regular legislative body but an extra-legislative machinery. Parliament, because of unavoidable circumstances, delegates some of it power to ministers, public corporation and so on to make law. It also means the rules or regulations made by a person, body or group of persons in accordance with the legislative power given by Parliament to him or as the case may be. We shall now turn to the reasons for delegated authority.
Reasons For Delegated Authority
The major reasons why delegated authority are important in a modem states are :
1. Stability: Delegation of authority promotes organizational stability because it is the act by which a person (superior) processing authority, transfers part of that authority to subordinate.
2. Decentralization : Delegated authority promotes administrative decentralization and participatory behavior. This enhances socio-political development in the society.
3. Expert: Delegated authority allows for the use of expert knowledge in a modem state. The civil servants who help the minister to draft statutory instruments before parliament are talented expert whose knowledge in the particular field can only be put to maximum use by way of delegated authority.
4. Save time : Because if limited time coupled with volume of work required in a country, there is hardly time for parliament to go into details. It therefore becomes necessary that parliament delegates some of its power in order to save time. This however is delegated legislation.
5. Technicality: Some matters are technical that they are better left to ministries or department if the rules dealing with them are to be soundly and speedily made.
6. Emergency: Delegated authority makes provision foro quick action in an emergency situation such as war, economic crisis, strikes and so on, if used properly delegated authority helps the government to overcome emergencies.
7. Thoroughness: The use of delegated authority allows rules and bye-laws to be carefully considered so that mistakes can be avoided.
Forms of Delegated Authority
• Orders in Council : The sovereign (King, Queen or President) has delegated authority under his prerogative to make certain proclaimation having the backing of the law. In Britain the PrivyCouncil; the highest court of Appeal for the United Kingdom mostly ratifies these orders.
• Statutory Instrument : This is a situation where the Act of Parliament empowers ministries or public corporation to issue order or rules on certain matter. It could also be known as ministerial order.
Executive aspect : The executive is an arm of government that is very important and traditionally the most pervasive purveyor of influence. It initiates proposals and determines the priorities of the state. This involves a lot of time and vigor. To have a smooth running of the state, chief executive gives part of the responsibilities to an individual or group of individuals in the form of delegated authorities.
Nigeria for example operates presidential system, an arrangement in which the head of State is also the head of government. That the whole country is the President’s constituency means that the work of the president is enormous and demanding. He therefore appoints ministers who take charge of different ministries and are accountable to him. These ministers exercise delighted authority from the president.
CONTROL OF DELEGATED AUTHORITY
Delegated authority can be misused and in other to minimize such, various methods have been advanced to ensure control.
1. Public Outcry : Public outcry serves as serious control of the activities of the bodies with power of delegated legislation. If a proposed legislation is against public interest, there will be a general outcry that will lead to the withdrawal. Also am aggrieved person can always repot to the public complain commission which may take measures likely to redress such grievances and compel the legislation to be withdrawn or amended.
2. Financial Control : The government exercise financial control delegated bodies. Delegates authorities cannot spend money anyhow. The government sends government auditors to check their accounts from time to times to prevent misuse of public fund.
3. The Principle of Ministerial Responsibility : The Parliament can as a matter of right demand that Minister who misuses his delegated power must account for his action.
4. Press Criticism : The press also known as the fourth estate of the realm, through their criticism serves as control to delegated authority and legislation. The press can call for amendments or repeal of any legislation objected to, and the bodies with powers of delegated legislation are always conscious of this.
5. Statutory Instrument : This is a committee set up by the parliament purposely to examine and scrutinize all statutory instruments laid on the floor of the house. It mandated to draw the attention of Parliament to any instrument, which may involve an additional expenditure on the public revenue, the committee later on report back to the general house for the modification of such statutory instruments and subsequently approves them yo become law or revokes them as the case maybe.
6. Judicial Control : The law courts exercise control over orders, rules, and regulations by ensuring that they are made in line with the statute that authorized their existence.
Merits of Delegated Authority
• Flexibility : Delegated laws can easily be revoked, unlike laws made in the parliament that are rigid and they take years to repeal when defective.
• Thoroughness and Precision : The need for thoroughness and precision is also responsible for the use of delegated legislation. On the other hand, the application of delegated legislation allows rules, bye-laws and regulations to be carefully considered arid worked out properly and dearly by the executive bodies.
• Emergency situation : The needs to meet urgent situations during emergencies is equally responsible for the use of delegated legislation.
Thus, the minister or his representative is given the power to act in the interest of the nation during emergencies, without necessarily going through the normal parliamentary procedure before the situation gets out of hand.
• Saving of Time : In delegated authority power are conferred on certain bodies, organisations and individuals to make certain minor laws while the parliament concentrates on laws in broader terms.
• Inadequate Publicity : Very many laws made through delegated legislation are not adequately publicized to the extend that many citizens are unaware of the existence of such laws.
• It encourages Dictatorship : An over ambitious executive can become dictatorial as a result of the powers vested on him by delegated legislation during emergency period.