Holding power to account requires understanding where power lies and how it is exercised. It entails understanding how decisions are made and who makes them, and the nature of entrenched, institutional obstacles to change.
With technology for development - and in particular the idea of open data - holding so much potential for better governance, how can we make sure that these new ideas are building on what we already know about how to really hold power to account?
In one of three background papers prepared for the Making All Voices Count ‘Transforming Governance’ learning event, held in Manila, in February 2016, Joy Aceron and Francis Isaac discuss ‘vertical integration’, an idea which can be used to help civil society actors monitor and analyse public sector actions.
In this paper, they draw on two examples of civil society campaigns from the Philippines:
- Textbook Count, which monitored the entire process of the government’s textbook delivery programme from procurement to distribution
- The campaign for the Reproductive Health Bill, which mobilised more than 300 organisations into action at different levels of the policy process to influence change.
The authors show how vertical integration matrices can be used to map civil society action and to understand how that action relates to government power at different levels: international, national and local.