Basel Institute on Governance I Steinenring 60 I CH-4051 Basel I Phone +41 (0)61 205 55 11 I firstname.lastname@example.orgParticipatory approaches to improvingaccountability in public services: conceptualand evidence-based guidelines.Presentation for the workshop “Relevance of Transparency,Accountability, and Participation since the Arab Spring” organizedby the World Bank and Partners in Development.April 7-9, 2013, Cairo, Egypt.Dr. Claudia Baez CamargoSenior ResearcherBasel Institute on Governance
The starting point“The idea of citizen participation isa little like eating spinach: no oneis against it in principle because itis good for you”(Arnstein1969, 216)
Participation for Accountability: Defining the issuearea. Social accountability In the area of defining and implementing accountability mechanisms,what distinguishes social accountability is the direct participation ofcitizens. Within the many modes of participation and citizen engagement inthe public sphere, we are in the area of actions undertaken with theexplicit goal of holding authorities and service providers to accountfor their performance.AccountabilitymechanismsCitizen participationSocialAccountability
The question is….. Can social accountability initiatives –through differentmodalities of citizen participation- have an impact on thequality of or access to basic public services? Yes, but…….Citizen participation by itself is not enoughNeed to adequately contextualize
Main elements involved in effective socialaccountability interventions Effective social accountability involves atthe minimum three core elements:voice, enforceability andanswerability, which together form part ofa cycle.
Definition of basic concepts Voice can be understood as a variety of mechanisms – formal andinformal – through which people express their preferences, opinionsand views and demand accountability from power-holders Enforceability refers to the possibility that an accountability-seekerhas to impose sanctions on the service provider or the responsibleauthorities when their mandate is not appropriately executed. Answerability refers the obligation to provide an account and theright to get a response. In this discussion, answerability can beunderstood as voice triggering a response from the service provideror pertinent authority. Source: (UNDP 2010)
Components and steps involved in effectivesocial accountability initiativesCitizens/ UsersServiceProvidersDecision makersOpinionOpinionOpinionOpinionVoiceInformation onmandate, rightsand entitlementsEnforcementAggregation and articulationAnswerabilityParticipation
Examples of commonly used socialaccountability toolsCitizen report cardsCommunity score cardsCommunity monitoringComplaints mechanismsParticipatory budgetingPublic expenditure tracking surveys (PETS)
Working with the grain: demand-side elements tooptimize impact Local/indigenous pre-existing participatory mechanisms may beharnessed to maximize effectiveness. How is community defined? Elements such as solidarity, protection,self help but also possible reprisals within the community can posechallenges to effective participation. How do citizens understand their relationship vis a vis the state?Who do they trust? Urban/rural areas. Collective vs individual participatory actions.
Supply-side tools in support of and concomitant tosocial accountability approaches Rights awareness campaigns are indispensable starting point. Focus on the direct factors that shape the incentives of the providerin question. Ensuring adequate institutional mechanisms are available toaggregate and transmit voice to the pertinent actors with decisionmaking authority. Formulating evidence based strategies to improve the providers’capacity to respond.
Mexico: elements impacting performance of socialaccountability initiatives Communitarian view of action and welfare. Traditional male-dominated hierarchies and organizations. State is seen as the great benefactor. History of political clientelism and cooptation History of corporatism, strong union commanding control health sectorworkers’ career and remuneration opportunities.
Tanzania: elements impacting performance of socialaccountability initiatives Extreme suspicion towards and disengagement from the state. Active civil society as expressed in highest levels of trust given toNGOs and the existence of multiplicity of self help organizations. Media has high credibility. Is trusted and actively used to promoteaccountability activities as a means to disseminate demands andshortcomings. Budget monitoring activities have been successful. Institutionalization of social accountability mechanisms stillchallenging.
Lessons learned Participation can be best promoted by contextualizing the channelsand mechanisms to participate to the greatest extent possible. Participation and generating voice alone are not enough. Improvedaccountability outcomes are associated with a supportive publicsector. When public sector accountability mechanisms are unresponsive orweak, positive outcomes are often associated with anactive, independent media and the existence of effective access toinformation provisions.
Concluding remarks: challenges and opportunities forthe MENA region Mobilized citizenry and a sense of empowerment fortriggering changes provide fertile ground for participatoryapproaches. Can provide democratic state-building opportunities bygenerating positive synergies. Contextualization remains essential to achieve sustainability.
References and acknowledgements References: Arnstein, Sherry R. "A Ladder of Citizen Participation," JAIP, Vol. 35, No. 4, July 1969, pp. 216-224. Baez-Camargo, Claudia. 2011. “Accountability for Better Healthcare Provision: a Framework andGuidelines to Define, Understand and Assess Accountability in Health Systems.” Basel Institute onGovernance Working Paper Series No. 10 http://www.baselgovernance.org/publications/working-papers/ UNDP. 2010. “Fostering Social Accountability: From Principle to Practice. Guidance Note.” World Bank. 2004. “World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People.” Acknowledgements:The work presented here has been undertaken as part of the participation of the BaselInstitute on Governance in the ANTICORRP research consortium (anticorrp.eu), which isfinanced by the European Union’s FP7 program.