In early 2008, Zubair Bhatti, administrative head of the Jhang district in Pakistan’s Punjab province, recognized the need to reduce petty corruption in the local civil service—a problem that plagued not only Punjab but also all of Pakistan. He began to contact citizens on their cell phones to learn about the quality of the service they had received. Those spot checks became the basis for a social audit system that spanned all 36 districts in Punjab by 2014. The provincial government outsourced much of the work to a call center, which surveyed citizens about their experiences with 16 different public services. The data from that call center helped district coordination officers identify poorly performing employees and branches, thereby enhancing the capability of the government to improve service delivery. By early 2014, the province was sending about 12,000 text messages daily to check on service quality. More than 400,000 citizens provided information between the beginning of the initiative and 2014. Known as the Citizen Feedback Monitoring Program, the Punjab’s social audit system became the template for similar innovations in other provinces and federal agencies in Pakistan.Read More
This self-assessment tool is intended to be used by NGOs in Africa to help you check your organisation’s level of maturity in the use of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies). Our understanding is that the appropriate use of ICTs can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your NGO, can help bridge the digital divide and can act as a springboard to enable you to do things which would be impossible without this technology.
While this tool has a focus on NGOs in South Africa it is a useful tool for very small community service organisations.
NGO ICT and e-Readiness Self-Assessment Tool, First Edition May 2009 This document was commissioned by NGOConnect Africa and written by Jean-Paul Van Belle, Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Information Systems, University of Cape Town. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5 South Africa Licence.
Direct participation in public policy processes has gained importance in recent decades. During the last third of the 20th century, participation and citizens monitoring in public affairs have spread in various regions of the world, especially in countries that are willing to strengthen their governments (Fox, 2014: 9).
There is wide recognition by international agencies, researchers and governments that citizen participation could have a positive impact on the design and implementation of policies, on the provision and quality of the goods and services; on the use of public resources, and therefore improve governance.
The Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) has included direct citizen participation as one of its ten high level principles on fiscal transparency, participation and accountability . However, there are many forms in which citizens could participate on public issues and specifically in those related to public resources, one of which is social audits.Read More
A social audit is a community-led process that facilitates public participation in the monitoring of government service delivery and expenditure.
This guide is for community activists and organized civil society interested in conducting social audits in South Africa. It aims to help these groups think about, conduct, and reflect on social audits. The guide may also be of use to other stakeholders (such as government) that want to better understand a process they may be requested to participate in.Read More
Citizen Voice and Action is an approach that aims to increase dialogue between ordinary citizens and organisations that provide services to the public. It also aims to improve accountability from the administrative and political sections of government (both national and local) in order to improve the delivery of public services.Read More
This case study reviews two social audits that SNV conducted in the Sissala East between February 2013 and March 2014. The case examines the successes and challenges of the audits and describes how they can be applied as tools to promote community empowerment and stakeholder accountability.Read More
Kenya’s adoption of the devolved system of governance places citizens at the core of governance and with elevated hopes for improvement in the delivery of public services. Being cognizant that among the objects of Kenya’s devolution are: to give powers of self-governance to citizens and enhance their participation in the exercise of the powers of State and in making decisions affecting them; to recognise the right of communities to manage their own affairs and to further their development; and to promote social and economic development and the provision of proximate, easily accessible services throughout Kenya. A fundamental principle of democracy is that citizens have the right to exact accountability and public officials have a duty to be accountable.Read More
This report covers the findings of a 2012 baseline survey by SNV in Sissala East District, Ghana. The baseline used social audits, community scorecards and community dialogues to collect data.Read More
This PRIA publication introduces the concept of social audit and the varying types in use. It reviews the history of social audits and provides examples of contexts in which it is relevant as a tool.Read More
This handbook is intended to be used for the training of groups as well as individuals with an interest in monitoring CDF expenditure in their community. The handbook
is designed to assist communities understand the way CDF works, and how they can participate effectively in the various stages of the CDF project cycle. It also discusses
how members of the public can effectively monitor CDF expenditure through a social audit. If using this handbook for training purposes, trainers are encouraged to
obtain a sample of the key CDF documents relevant to that constituency, as detailed later within the text.
Researchers have devoted a considerable amount of attention to corporate social and environmental reporting (CSER) over the past 20 years (for a review, see Gray et al. 1995), focusing in particular on the impact of CSER on an organisation's social and environment performance (e.g. Herremans and Akathaporn 1993). The investigation of CSER has recently extended to the links of CSER with corporate social responsibility and accountability. Such links provide researchers the potential to explore the applicability of social auditing concepts to the attainment of an organisation's social objectives and the promotion of accountability and transparency. Social auditing is a (generally voluntary) activity that recognises an obligation incumbent on organisations to give an account of their social performance to their legitimate stakeholders (Zhang et al. 2000). It is regarded as a process that an organisation undertakes when assessing and reporting on its social performance in terms of accountability and stakeholder involvement.Read More
This paper reviews the current literature on social accountability as a means to achieve good governance and increased public participation for improved public service delivery. After a brief discussion on concept and tools of social accountability, this paper illustrates that such innovations have led to improvements in the performance of state agencies and actors in varying contexts across the developing countries. Increased donor-led efforts to converge good governance agendas and neo-liberal economics tend to overlook politics that is central to struggles for social accountability. The complete faith of the neo-liberal development paradigm in market-friendliness, devolution, and working through NGOs often disregards politics within which such policies have to operate and on which they are ultimately dependent. The overarching issues of poverty and redistribution should caution development practitioners that such innovations and policy transfer[s] pertaining to social accountability might not become blunt instruments of 'traveled formalism'Read More
This paper documents the Andhra Pradesh experience of institutionalizing social audits into the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, and uses it to analyze the social audit process. It draws on empirical work aimed at measuring the effectiveness of social audits conducted in Andhra Pradesh between March and December 2007.Read More
The public sector institutions which are responsible for monitoring government performance are not normally open to citizen participation. Yet there is widespread dissatisfaction with the capacities of states to exercise self-restraining functions effectively, and a growing interest amongst citizens to inform, monitor, or participate directly in the workings of these oversight institutions. This paper examines two citizen-initiated efforts in India to engage with public sector oversight functions. In one case, citizens attempted to engage with administrative accountability institutions (monitoring efficiency and quality in the food subsidy system), and in the second, citizens challenged official auditing systems in local government by producing parallel accounts of local spending which contradicted official versions. Both cases involved citizens breaking away from the ‘vertical’ channels of accountability traditionally open to civil society (lobbying, voting), and insinuating themselves to previously closed ‘horizontal’ accountability functions (the state's internal procedures for administrative review or financial auditing). We argue that for such ‘hybrid’ forms of accountability to be effective, it is important that citizens be given legal standing within institutions of public sector oversight, a continuous presence within the oversight agency's work, structured access to official documentary information, including spending records, and the right to issue dissenting perspectives directly to legislative bodies.Read More
Audit is defined as “the process by which people, the final beneficiaries of any scheme, program, policies, and laws are empowered to review any scheme, policy, program, or law.” Social audit is an ongoing process by which the potential beneficiaries and other stakeholders of an activity or project are involved from the planning to the monitoring and evaluation of that activity or project. This concept has amply been used in social sector and that is why the term social audit has come up. There has been increasing interest about the use of this technique in health sector in the developed and developing world, in the last decade. There are well-reported examples of beneficial effect of social audit in increasing program performance in health sector. This article has been written with the objectives to provide basic framework for social audit, note down the steps to be taken, cite specific examples of use of social audit in health sector, and outline the expertise needed and challenges in implementing social audit in health programs in India.Read More
This paper proposes that empowerment is the first step toward sustainable development. Social Protection Programs have been aimed at providing only minimum subsistence and not building capacities for empowerment. Decentralized participatory governance models hold the key to more effective implementation and empowerment. Thus, participatory governance and social accountability are the missing links to bridge social protection and social justice.Read More
This report lays out the main elements of social audits in India and consolidates lessons from a horizontal learning exchange that took place between IBP partner organizations from India, Kenya, Mozmabique, Cambodia, and Indonesia. This report is part of the IBP’s Learning from Each Other Series, and is based on the paper “Social Audits: Changing the Paradigm of Budget Decision-Making” by Vivek Ramkumar and Sowmya Kidambi.Read More
This short guide from the World Bank covers the Social Audit citizen monitoring tool. It provides a brief overview of the tool, a summary of the process and links to case studies and tips for implementation.Read More
The activities of Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), a civil society organization (CSO) based in Mombasa, Kenya, demonstrate the significant role budget transparency plays in improving accountability. MUHURI’s work also shows how public engagement in the budget process can strengthen oversight and lead to improved public service delivery. At the same time, MUHURI’s impact has been restricted by the lack of a Freedom of Information (FOI) law in Kenya, along with other broad transparency challenges in the country. (Kenya scores 57 out of 100 on the Open Budget Index 2008, indicating that the government provides the public with some, albeit incomplete information on the central government’s budget and financial activities during the course of the budget year.)Read More
This toolkit provides practical guidance and insights for government departments, community organisations and civil society groups on using social audit as a tool to identify, measure, assess and report on the social performance of their organisations. It comprises two sections - Section I introduces the concepts, purpose, history and goals of social audit; Section II describes how this toolkit is to be used in a sequential process for conducting social audit and the preparation of social audit reports.Read More