Hivos International

Civil Society

A new generation of strategies for government accountability is needed, one that fully considers entrenched, institutional obstacles to change. Vertical integration of coordinated civil society policy monitoring and advocacy is one such strategy. Engaging each stage and level of public sector actions in an integrated way can locate the causes of accountability failures, show their interconnected nature, and leverage the local, national and transnational power shifts necessary to produce sustainable institutional change.

A new generation of strategies for government accountability is needed, one that fully considers entrenched, institutional obstacles to change. Vertical integration of coordinated civil society policy monitoring and advocacy is one such strategy. Engaging each stage and level of public sector actions in an integrated way can locate the causes of accountability failures, show their interconnected nature, and leverage the local, national and transnational power shifts necessary to produce sustainable institutional change.

A new generation of strategies for government accountability is needed, one that fully considers entrenched, institutional obstacles to change. Vertical integration of coordinated civil society policy monitoring and advocacy is one such strategy. Engaging each stage and level of public sector actions in an integrated way can locate the causes of accountability failures, show their interconnected nature, and leverage the local, national and transnational power shifts necessary to produce sustainable institutional change.

A new generation of strategies for government accountability is needed, one that fully considers entrenched, institutional obstacles to change. Vertical integration of coordinated civil society policy monitoring and advocacy is one such strategy. Engaging each stage and level of public sector actions in an integrated way can locate the causes of accountability failures, show their interconnected nature, and leverage the local, national and transnational power shifts necessary to produce sustainable institutional change.

Much of the literature on citizen accountability focuses on citizen voices. This research briefing is one of four which turn the spotlight on the how the state behaves in instances of accountable governance. Each examines a landmark social justice policy process in Africa, asking when and how the state listened, and to which actors; and why, at times, it chose not to listen.

Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC), a South African civil society organisation (CSO) working on transparency and accountability, has been heavily involved in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) since its inception. Through its contributions to and monitoring of South Africa’s OGP National Action Plans (NAPs), it saw that poor interdepartmental coordination was hindering the South African government’s ability to implement its ambitious commitments to revitalise the public service, promote transparency, and use technology to strengthen governance.

This working paper argues that the growing field of transparency, participation and accountability (TPA) needs a conceptual reboot, to address the limited traction gained so far on the path to accountability. To inform more strategic approaches and to identify the drivers of more sustainable institutional change, fresh analytical work is needed.

The paper makes the case for one among several possible strategic approaches by distinguishing between 'scaling up' and 'taking scale into account', going on to examine several different ways that ‘scale’ is used in different fields.

In mid-2015, VOTO Mobile, in partnership with the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), applied to Making All Voices Count for a practitioner research and learning grant.

VOTO Mobile is a Ghanaian tech company and social enterprise. One of the tools it uses is the interactive voice response (IVR) survey. This entails survey respondents being called on their mobile phone, and prompted by pre-recorded messages to respond to questions by pressing buttons on the phone; the results are stored on a database.

The Philippines has a long history of state–society engagement to introduce reforms in government and politics. Forces from civil society and social movements have interfaced with reform-oriented leaders in government on a range of social accountability initiatives – to make governance more responsive, to introduce policy reforms, and to make government more accountable.

Yayasan Kota Kita (Our City Foundation) is an organisation of governance practitioners who focus on urban planning and citizen participation in the design and development of cities. Following several years of experience with participatory budgeting in Solo city, their research set out to examine participatory budgeting processes in six Indonesian cities, to inform their work – and the work of others – strengthening citizen participation in urban governance. Their research looked at:

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