Briefing: Full disclosure policy is nice but not enough

Briefing: Full disclosure policy is nice but not enough

The Philippines is one of the 8 pioneering countries in the world that founded the Open Government Partnership in September 2011. The partnership calls for greater availability of government information to the public, implement standards of transparency and accountability in governments, as well as use technology for openness and accountability.

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Open Government Data for Effective Public Participation: Findings of a Case Study Research Investigating The Kenya's Open Data Initiative in Urban Slums and Rural Settlements

Open Government Data for Effective Public Participation: Findings of a Case Study Research Investigating The Kenya's Open Data Initiative in Urban Slums and Rural Settlements

In 2013, the year that Kenya Celebrated 50 years of independence, a new constitution came into force, including fundamental principles focussed on public participation and the promotion of a more open society.

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Public access to information for development : a guide to effective implementation of right to information laws (English)

Public access to information for development : a guide to effective implementation of right to information laws (English)

With more than 100 right to information (RTI) laws also called freedom of information or access to information laws now in place globally, the groundwork has been laid to advance more transparent, accountable, and inclusive governance as a pathway to poverty reduction and economic development. This guide explores the historical development of RTI laws, the factors that drive passage and effective implementation of these laws, the operation of the laws, and the impact of these laws in different country contexts and sectors, as well as the challenges of measuring the contribution of RTI laws to development outcomes.

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The Role of Social Accountability in Improving Health Outcomes: Overview and Analysis of Selected International NGO Experiences to Advance the Field

The Role of Social Accountability in Improving Health Outcomes: Overview and Analysis of Selected International NGO Experiences to Advance the Field

The 1993 World Development Report (WDR), Investing in Health, deemed strengthening accountability as one of the core elements of health sector reform. Engaging communities and community-based workers in the process of measuring health status of children, in assessing causes of deaths, in defining high- risk groups, and in measuring changes in mortality over time will enable governments to achieve levels of under-5 mortality according to their commitments.

Models involving International NGOs that used a social accountability approach in various sectors and at different levels including community, district, and national level, were reviewed as part of this paper and are presented regarding the processes undertaken to increase accountability and improve health outcomes. This paper presents common themes, challenges, and recommendations to expand and bring this approach to scale in the context of health and development.

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NGO ICT and e-Readiness Self-Assessment Tool

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.

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Closing the Feedback Loop : Can Technology Bridge the Accountability Gap?

Closing the Feedback Loop : Can Technology Bridge the Accountability Gap?

The report analyzes in depth both the factors and process of using new technologies to enhance the delivery of primary health services to pregnant women in Karnataka, India, and of several community mapping and crowdsourcing programs in Guinea, Haiti, Kenya, Libya, Sudan, and other countries.

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Citizen Voice and Action: Guidance Notes

Citizen Voice and Action: Guidance Notes

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. 

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Taking Accountability to Scale: A Discussion of Collaboration Between GPSA-Supported Projects and Accountability Institutions

Taking Accountability to Scale: A Discussion of Collaboration Between GPSA-Supported Projects and Accountability Institutions

Engagement between accountability institutions (AIs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) is an important dimension in the theory of change of the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA). According to the GPSA’s theory of change, AIs and CSOs, by working together, can benefit and strengthen each other and contribute to government accountability. But what does this approach look like in practice? What initiatives are being implemented under GPSA-supported projects and how? This note takes a look at the efforts being made by the CSOs implementing GPSA grants. It explores the strategies used and the challenges that have been encountered, with the aim of learning from ongoing experiences in this area.

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Turning Challenges into Change: How Social Audits are Improving School Feeding in Sissala East

Turning Challenges into Change: How Social Audits are Improving School Feeding in Sissala East

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.

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Rethinking social accountability in Africa: lessons from the Mwananchi Programme

Rethinking social accountability in Africa: lessons from the Mwananchi Programme

This report draws on five years' of lessons and case studies from implementing the Mwananchi Governance and Transparency Programme in six African countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia. It argues that there are three major problems with the way social accountability initiatives are designed and implemented:

  • Failure to engage with the incentives at the heart of collective-action problems.
  • Theories of change that fail to take advantage of learning by doing.
  • Generic support to 'cookie-cutter' agents of change, rather than first identifying the right process to create change.
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Service characteristics and engagement with citizens

Service characteristics and engagement with citizens

Despite significant progress in a range of public services over the past two decades, in many developing countries the average citizen continues to suffer from gaps in provision and poor performance of even the most basic services. For example, staff absenteeism and medicine stock-outs are severe problems in many countries, and poor relations between health workers and service users are a persistent barrier to effective health care. Over-burdened networks and poor maintenance limit access to safe, clean drinking water, resulting in citizens having to travel long distances or use riskier sources. How best to address these problems, and improve the performance of services, is one the major challenges facing citizens and governments across the developing world.

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Institutionalising Social Accountability in Devolved Governance

Institutionalising Social Accountability in Devolved Governance

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.

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The CDF Social Audit Guide: A Handbook for Communities

The CDF Social Audit Guide: A Handbook for Communities

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.

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A comparative study of stakeholder engagement approaches in social auditing

A comparative study of stakeholder engagement approaches in social auditing

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.

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Governance, Social Accountability and the Civil Society

Governance, Social Accountability and the Civil Society

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' 

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Transparency
 and 
Accountability
 in 
NREGA A 
Case
 Study 
of 
Andhra
 Pradesh

Transparency
 and 
Accountability
 in 
NREGA A 
Case
 Study 
of 
Andhra
 Pradesh

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.

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Hybrid Forms Of Accountability: Citizen engagement in institutions of public-sector oversight in India

Hybrid Forms Of Accountability: Citizen engagement in institutions of public-sector oversight in India

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.

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Social Audit in Health Sector Planning and Program Implementation in India

Social Audit in Health Sector Planning and Program Implementation in India

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.

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