Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 15
AN INTRODUCTION TO CONCEPTS OF GOOD GOVERNANCE, DEMOCRATIC DECENTRALISA TION, LOCAL GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILTIY

AN INTRODUCTION TO CONCEPTS OF GOOD GOVERNANCE, DEMOCRATIC DECENTRALISATION, LOCAL GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILTIY

I) THE CONCEPT OF GOOD GOVERNANCE

All around the world, we hold certain ideals that steer us to that which is good, not just for ourselves but for the rest of society. These ideals guide and lead us to demand from our leaders integrity and honour in the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented or not implemented. They move us to work and demand for good governance.

But what is governance? And what is good governance?

“‘Governance’ is the exercise of power or authority – political, economic, administrative or otherwise – to manage a country's resources and affairs. It comprises the mechanisms, processes and institutions, through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences. ‘Good governance’ means competent management of a country’s resources and affairs in a manner that is open, transparent, accountable, equitable and responsive to peoples needs. 1

Good governance is based on the following principles: 2

a. Good governance is focusing on the organization’s purpose and on outcomes for citizens and service users

b. Good governance is performing effectively in clearly defined functions and roles

c. Good governance is promoting values for the whole organization and demonstrating the values of good governance through behavior

d. Good governance is making informed,

transparent decisions and managing risk

Good Governance…

Is effective and equitable

Promotes the rule of law

Ensures that political, social and economic priorities are based on a broad consensus in society

Ensures that the poorest and most vulnerable members of society are heard in decision making over the allocation of development resources.

e. Good governance is developing the capacity and capability of the governing body to be effective

f. Good governance is engaging stakeholders and making accountability real.

These principles if applied in the way governments make and implement decisions will reveal the following characteristics:

a. Participation In a government where good governance is the norm, citizens can actively participate

1 The Australian Government’s Overseas Aid Program (AusAID). August 2000. Good Governance: Guiding Principles for Implementation. Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Canberra.

2 The Independent Commission on Good Governance in Public Services. 2004. The Good Governance Standard

for Public Services. OPM and CIPFA.

in the process of decision-making, directly or indirectly through groups or agencies that represent their

in the process of decision-making, directly or indirectly through groups or agencies that

represent their interests.

b. Rule of law Good governance enables laws, particularly human rights, to be implemented fairly and impartially.

c. Transparency Transparency is built on the free flow of information. Processes, institutions and information are directly accessible to those concerned with them, and enough information is provided to understand and monitor them.

d. Responsiveness In a government exercising good governance, agencies promptly serve and respond to the needs of its constituents.

e. Consensus orientation

In any society, interests and opinions are varied. Good governance strives to mediate

these differences so that a broad consensus on what is best for all is always achieved.

f. Equity All men and women, regardless of age, gender or status in life have opportunities to improve or maintain their well-being.

g. Effectiveness and efficiency

A government exercising good governance produces results that meet the needs of its

people while making the best use of resources.

h. Accountability In good governance, decision-makers in government, the private sector and civil society organisations are answerable to the public, as well as to institutional stakeholders.

i. Strategic vision Leaders and the public have a broad and long-term perspective on good governance and human development, along with a sense of what is needed for such development.

Good governance is an ideal which is difficult to practice and more especially to demand, especially in a society where alongside noble values run dirty politics and corruption. Furthermore, citizens, most of the time, mistakenly perceive good governance as a value attached merely to public officials. For good governance to be a reality, people should realize that it is not a practice exclusive to government.

Making good governance work is necessary, although difficult. But it is a must. Accountable governments are essential in the fight against poverty. They protect human rights, provide security, promote economic growth and deliver essential services, such as health and education. 3 Good governance leads to growth and progress for all. It ensures sustainable human development.

Citizens are well part of government – they are not mere beneficiaries or recipients; they are the electorate. It is the citizens that put people in office, and it is their efforts that keep them there. They should play an active role in making good governance work. They should move to make governments accountable. One way to do this is through social

accountability.

3 2007. Governance. In the Data Report. Available at http://www.thedatareport.org

II) THE CONCEPT OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE Democratic governance refers to the management of societal affairs

II) THE CONCEPT OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE

Democratic governance refers to the management of societal affairs in accordance with the universal principles of democracy as a system of rule that maximizes popular consent and participation, the legitimacy and accountability of rulers, and the responsiveness of the latter to the expressed interests and needs of the public. 4 The most fundamental attributes of democratic governance are the conduct within a country of free and fair elections; the existence of a reasonably well-organized and competitive party system; a delineation of, respect for, and protection of basic civil liberties and human rights within the society; and, the encouragement, support of and active participation of a vigorous civil society and, in particular, strong interest groups.

On the basis of the definition provided above, three major aspects of democratic governance can be identified: 5

First, democratic governance is both an end in itself and a means towards other ends. It is an end in itself as a moral imperative consistent with the permanent aspiration of human beings for freedom and for a better social and political order, one that is more humane and more or less egalitarian. Second, democratic governance is never perfect, for it is a process rather than an end- product. It is, all over the world a continuous process of expanding the political space to ensure for everyone equal access to basic rights and liberties. In ancient Greece, slaves and women were not citizens and could not therefore take part in the political process. In many ancient African societies, political decision making was the preserve of older men, while women and young people were excluded. In many parts of the world today, ethnic and racial minorities are still discriminated against with respect to the enjoyment of their full citizenship rights. Even where such rights are guaranteed in national constitutions, the poor and vulnerable groups may for a variety of reasons not be able to exercise them fully. All over the world support for democratic governance is precisely focused on expanding the political space to allow civil society, women, the poor and the marginalized to make their voices heard on all issues of concern to them. Third, democratic governance is a form of political practice based on universal principles of rule of law, popular legitimacy, participation and the accountability and alternance of rulers. With well functioning institutions and representation mechanisms from the community to the national and international levels, democratic governance should maximize popular consent and participation, the legitimacy and accountability of rulers, and better management of available resources to respond to the basic needs and aspirations of the population. In this instance, democratic governance is primarily viewed as a means towards other ends, namely development and human security.

What is the relationship between democratic governance and decentralisaton?

4 Nzongola-Ntalaja, Georges, 2004 Democratic Governance And Human Rights In The International Framework, Keynote Address, for the Joint Monthly Assembly of the Finnish Advisory Board for Human Rights and the Finnish Development Policy Committee

5 Nzongola-Ntalaja, Georges, 2004 Democratic Governance And Human Rights In The International Framework, Keynote Address, for the Joint Monthly Assembly of the Finnish Advisory Board for Human Rights and the Finnish Development Policy Committee

For decentralization processes to sustain some amount of democracy is essential. It seems evident that

For decentralization processes to sustain some amount of democracy is essential. It seems evident that a more decentralized governance system is likely to be a more democratic system. Decentralization provides more opportunities for civic space and citizen participation and, consequently, for independent groups to emerge, for political opposition to develop and for individuals to practice and experience the exercise of free choice in democratic governance. For all these reasons, decentralization does represent a significant strategy in efforts to democratize societies.

III) THE CONCEPT OF DECENTRALISATION

What is decentalisation?

Decentralisation is the transfer of authority and responsibility for public functions from the central government to intermediate and local governments or quasi-independent government organizations and/or the private sector. 6

How many types of decentalisation are there?

There are basically three types of decentralisation within the public sector:

1) Political decentralisation is the transfer of political power and decision-making authority to sub-national levels such as elected village councils, district councils and state level bodies.

2) Fiscal decentralisation involves a level of resource reallocation to local government which would allow it to function properly, along with fund allocated service delivery responsibility. Fiscal decentralisation rules regulates four areas: (i) expenditure assignment; (ii) revenue assignment; (iii) intergovernmental transfers, and (iv) sub-national borrowing

3) Administrative decentralisation involves the transfer of decision-making authority, resources and responsibilities for the delivery of selected public services from the central government to other lower levels of government, agencies, and field offices of central government line agencies.

Administrative decentralization can be of three kinds. They are as follows:

a) Devolution: The local government has full responsibility for hiring/firing of staff and assigning authority/responsibility. It is the most radical form of administrative decentralization.

b) De-concentration is the transfer of authority and responsibility from one level of the central government to another, with the local unit accountable to the central

government ministry or agency, which has been decentralised.

c) Delegation, on the other hand, is the redistribution of authority and responsibility to local units of government or agencies that are not always necessarily branches, or local offices of the delegating authority, with the bulk of accountability still vertically directed upwards towards the delegating central unit.

What is divestment?

6 Hans Bjørn Olsen, 2007, Decentralisation And Local Governance, SDC

Divestment is a term originating from finance and business, but is also used in the

Divestment is a term originating from finance and business, but is also used in the context of public administration. Divestment occurs when planning and administrative responsibility or other public functions are transferred from government to voluntary, private or non-governmental institutions. This often involves contracting out partial service provision or administrative functions, deregulation or full privatisation. For example, the provision of technical support to lower levels of government in the water sector via private companies instead of a national water ministry would be a form of divestment. 7

Why is decentralization important? 8

Decentralisation is an integral part of democratization: Decentralisation is an integral part of the logic of democratisation – the power of a people to determine their own form of government, representation, policies and services. In designing decentralisation strategies, it is important to ensure adequate processes of accountability, transparency and responsiveness by all societal actors.

Decentralisation is a logical application of core characteristics of good governance:

Decentralisation is the logical application of the core characteristics of good governance at the sub-national and local levels. These characteristics include accountability, transparency, rule of law and responsiveness. In designing decentralisation policies and programmes, the core characteristics of good governance provide a set of practical guidelines to follow in designing mechanisms, which will "operationalise" these principles.

Decentralisation is a mix of three types of functions and relationships: Decentralisation

is

a mixture of administrative, fiscal and political functions and relationships. In the design

of

decentralisation systems all three must be included.

Decentralisation involves multiple areas, actors and sectors: Decentralisation is a complex phenomenon involving many geographic locations/entities, societal actors and social sectors. The geographic location/entities include the international, national, sub- national, and local. The societal actors include government, the private sector and civil

society. The social sectors include all development themes - political, social, cultural and environmental. In designing decentralisation policies and programmes it is essential to use

a systems-approach encompassing these overlapping social sectors and the different requirements which each makes.

Decentralisation has a mix of four dimensions: Decentralisation involves four dimensions – the collective/exterior, the collective/interior, the individual/exterior and the individual/interior. The collective/exterior has to do with the institutional and legal forms and procedures. The collective/interior deals with the societal culture – the set of values and assumptions which are often unspoken or unacknowledged but nevertheless play a powerful role in human relationships. The individual/exterior dimension has to do with the observable behaviour of individuals within the various societal institutions, whether

7 European Commission, 2007, Supporting Decentralisation and Local Governance in Third Countries 8 R.Work, 1998, Factors to Consider in Designing Decentralised Governance Policies and Programmes to Achieve Sustainable People-Centred Development, Management Development and Governance Division, United Nations Development Programme, New York

government, private sector or civil society. The dimension of the individual/interior deals with the mindset,

government, private sector or civil society. The dimension of the individual/interior deals with the mindset, world-view, mental models, emotions and intuitions of individuals within institutions. Effective decentralised governance planning must be based on an analysis of these four dimensions

What Decentralisation is not!

Decentralisation is not an alternative to centralization: Both decentralization and centralization are needed. The complementary roles of national and sub-national actors should be determined by analysing the most effective ways and means of achieving a desired objective. For example, a national road system should be designed with both local input and national coordination. Foreign policy should be a national function based on the views of the citizenry. Solid waste management should primarily be dealt with through local mechanisms. And so forth. In designing a decentralisation strategy it is imperative that such an analysis be done.

Decentralisation is not exclusively public sector reform: It is much more than public sector, civil service or administrative reform. It involves the roles and relationships of all of the societal actors, whether governmental, private sector or civil society. The design of decentralisation programmes must take this into account. This is why UNDP prefers the use of the term "decentralised governance" rather than the term decentralisation.

What is the rationale behind decentralisation?

To achieve the goals of sustainable and people-centred development: Decentralisation is a form and process of governance. Just as there can be good governance at the national level there can be good decentralised governance. Good governance includes the mechanisms and processes, which enable a society to achieve more sustainable and people- centred development. Good decentralised governance includes the forms and procedures that allow a society to achieve at the sub-national and local levels the goals of poverty eradication, sustainable livelihoods, environmental regeneration, and gender equality. It is therefore imperative that in the design of decentralised governance policies and programmes these long-term goals be reflected in the mechanisms and institutions being proposed at the national, sub-national and local levels. It cannot be assumed that these goals will automatically be achieved through decentralisation. They must be designed into the decentralisation process itself. 9

The two perspectives on Decentralisation

Supportive View of Decentralisation

Apprehensive View of Decentralisation

“elections are fair and free and a local

“the governance conditions are such that

competitive political system will emerge”

we will only create another layer of state inefficiency”

“resources will be made available from

the central state or from local taxation” • “decision-making on local plans and priorities will take place at local level, not

“decentralisation is too costly a process

(including a risk of fiscal indiscipline), so

most countries (especially small ones)

9 R. Work, 1998, Factors to Consider in Designing Decentralised Governance Policies and Programmes to Achieve Sustainable People-Centred Development, Management Development and Governance Division, United Nations Development Programme, New York

at the centre” cannot afford it “the new democratic system at local level will be

at the centre”

cannot afford it

“the new democratic system at local level will be able to cope with alternative

(traditional) sources of authority”

“decentralisation should not take place before the necessary capacity exists at central level ”

“citizens will be able to exercise voice in the management of local affairs”

“decentralising service delivery leads to better results that benefit poor people”

“decentralisation will lead to a clash

between different sources of power and legitimacies”

“there is not enough social capital at local

 

level to promote effective engagement in local affairs”

“decentralisation has uncertain impact on poverty reduction

Source: EU, 2007

Are there any risks to decentralization?

Financial Equalisation: One of the major risks of decentralisation is the risk of increasing inequality through fiscal decentralisation that is not balanced throughout the country. Certain already endowed districts, regions or localities might be better off than poorer districts and regions, and therefore potentially stand to benefit even further from an unbalanced fiscal decentralisation process. In such a case equalization measures need to be taken to avoid the ever-so-present potential of fiscal decentralization perpetuating greater developmental disparities. A number of countries have recognized this important consideration and equalization formulae have included the application of discriminatory fiscal transfers based on the poverty profile of the recipient regions/municipalities.

Local elites: There is a risk that decentralisation can reinforce existing local elite structures and that local elites capture a new decentralisation process. Obviously this only reinforces the need to work with both aspects of decentralisation and local governance when trying to improve local democratic and political processes. The need for a vibrant civil society is also emphasised here.

Political commitment: It is widely accepted that political commitment on the part of federal or state governments is a sine qua non of effective democratic decentralisation, and especially of forms of decentralisation that are specifically geared to the interests of the poor. Successful pro-poor decentralisation is associated with governing parties that are politically committed to the democratic empowerment of local governments. Yet it is essential to consider the wide range of issues that influence decentralisation. There is a need for a stronger focus on institutional issues, i.e., both on the rules that influence the behaviour of actors at different levels of government, in the private sector and in civil society, and on the organisations that implement these rules.

Long-term commitment of donors: If the development of viable local governance systems is seen as a priority task, it logically follows that the decentralisation policies of donor agencies call for long-term institutional vision. This is due to the fact that the process of decentralisation is highly political, fragile and risky, and the need for a long- term institutional perspective is crucial. 10

10 Hans Bjørn Olsen, 2007, Decentralisation And Local Governance, SDC

What is the link between decentralization and civil society? Experience worldwide, however, points to th

What is the link between decentralization and civil society?

Experience worldwide, however, points to the reality that decentralisation has usually meant the deconcentration or devolution of power and authority from the central government to sub-national (local government) authorities, be they provincial or district administrations, urban municipalities, local/rural councils, county authorities, etc. In most cases, decentralisation stops at this level and rarely do governments recognize that civil society/grassroots institutions may suffer as much from the centralization of power at the sub-national level as they did under the country’s central government command. Because

of this recognition, the main challenge now in discussions of local governance is to ensure

that the strengthening of local government through decentralisation moves hand in hand with a deliberate effort to mobilize and strengthen the civil society structure, processes and

institutions at lower levels in a manner that would allow their relationship with sub- national authorities to be more interactive and mutually reinforcing.

A related challenge in empowering civil society concerns the extent to which the political

environment is perceived to be supportive of people’s welfare. For civil society to be

effective, a supportive social, institutional, and policy environment must be created, as this

is usually required for the development of the sustainable social trust that is so fundamental

for continued civil society engagement in social welfare issues/interventions. In the absence of a transparent, accountable and fair system of sharing resources and opportunities amongst the citizens (e.g. employment opportunities that guarantee minimum standards of living), the poorer members of society become more preoccupied with basic economic survival issues than with the more societal common good/pursuits. There is need

to build ‘local governance systems’ tuned to the situation, and the type of support will also

depend on the situation. There is furthermore a need to recognise decentralization reform

as ‘a political process’ 11 .

What is principle of subsidiarity?

Subsidiarity is the principle which states that matters ought to be handled by the lowest competent authority. Subsidiarity is, ideally or in principle, one of the features of federalism. The overarching principle of subsidiarity is that problems are best solved in the subsystem where they arise. Subsystems are encouraged to resolve their conflicts themselves without referring them to higher authority. Whatever solution is adopted, the subsystem will have to carry it out. Since their consent is essential, the optimum condition

is for them to resolve their conflicts independently. If a solution is worked out by the

subsystem, appeal to authority is not necessary. The principle of subsidiarity, therefore, applies to those areas where a central government does not have exclusive competence, the

principle delineating those areas where the government should and should not act. This means that the concept of subsidiarity has both a legal and a political dimension. 12

IV) THE CONCEPT OF LOCAL GOVERNANCE

11 Hans Bjørn Olsen, 2007, Decentralisation And Local Governance, SDC 12 Hans Bjørn Olsen, 2007, Decentralisation And Local Governance, SDC

What is local government? Local government is an umbrella term. The term may have different

What is local government?

Local government is an umbrella term. The term may have different meanings depending on the part of the world one is dealing with. Taking this into account, local government can mean county, municipality, city, town, township, local public authority, a school district, regional or interstate government entities, or any agency or instrumentality of a local government. Despite this multiplicity of entities, it is useful to distinguish between two broad types of local government:

• Local state administrations, which manage and run local affairs on a day-to-day basis; and

• Local representative bodies, such as municipal councils. These are governance bodies

that may either be directly or indirectly elected or appointed, by a higher-level government

or community representatives. There are also mixed forms of governance bodies whereby some representatives are appointed and others elected. 13

What is local governance?

Local governance comprises a set of institutions, mechanisms and processes through which citizens and their groups can articulate their interests and needs, mediate their differences, and exercise their rights and obligations at the local level. It emphasises the need to look beyond the narrow perspective of legal frameworks and local government entities. It seeks to include the multiplicity of formal and informal relationships between different actors in development (e.g. local government, the private sector, associations, de-concentrated agencies, CSOs) that shape and influence the output and effectiveness of political and administrative systems at a sub-national level 14 . The building blocks of good local governance are many: citizen participation, partnerships among key actors at the local level, capacity of local actors across all sectors, multiple flows of information, institutions of accountability, and a pro-poor orientation (UNDP 2004).

What is local economic development?

Local (economic) development refers to a process by which a variety of local institutions and actors mobilise and work together to plan and implement sustainable local development strategies in a given territory. Support to decentralisation can also be pursued through complementary reforms aimed at creating strong linkages with local economic development and poverty reduction.

The overall purpose of local economic development is to build up the economic capacity and legal regulatory framework for a local area to improve its economic future and the quality of life for all. It is a process by which public, business and non-governmental sector partners interact through dialogue and joint activities. The stimulation of healthy economic competition is part of the approach and can help kindle economic growth and generate employment. 15

13 European Commission, 2007, Supporting Decentralisation and Local Governance in Third Countries 14 Hans Bjørn Olsen, 2007, Decentralisation And Local Governance, SDC

15 European Commission, 2007, Supporting Decentralisation and Local Governance in Third Countries

What is the difference between decen tralisation and lo cal governance? The main differences between

What is the difference between decentralisation and local governance?

The main differences between decentralisation and local governance are in the actual actors participating in the process and the mode of interaction between governments, the private sector and civil society.

Decentralisation pertains to public sector institutional and organisational reforms and processes and the support needed for these. Local governance pertains more to supporting the creation of an enabling environment where multi-stakeholder processes - including public and private sector, as well as civil society, interact to foster effective local- development processes. This is summarised in the table below:

Decentralisation Reforms Support to the formal public sector elements of a decentralisation reform

Local Governance Support to the wider involvement of citizens, NGOs, private sector in relation to working with and monitoring local governments

Examples include:

Examples include:

· Assistance to central ministries responsible for reform to develop new policies and legislation. · Capacity building of local governments for improved planning, financial management, etc. · Provision of development funding to local governments for water, roads, health, etc.

· Assistance to private sector contractors to enable them to bid for decentralised works contracts. · Civic education and support to CBOs to strengthen the capacity of local communities to hold their local governments accountable. · Support to gender equality and empowerment

Source, Olsen 2007

Local governance issues can be pursued even without decentralisation. However, decentralization reinforces and legitimises local governance processes when correctly done.

V) THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY

What is transparency?

Transparency implies that the public in general, or at least those directly affected, should obtain information from the state about the rationale underlying decisions, decision- making criteria, the intended manner of implementing a decision, and any insight into its effects. Participatory planning and budgeting exercises can promote increased transparency at local levels in resource allocations and increased transparency can be ensured in management of public funds (both revenue and expenditures) through citizen participation in user committees (schools, health clinics, water boreholes) 16 .

What is participation?

16 Hans Bjørn Olsen, 2007, Decentralisation And Local Governance, SDC

Page:

SAS-3 | Module 1 | Session: Basics of SA, GG and DD | lesson: Introduction to the Concepts to GG, DD, LG and SA

Participation implies that all population segments need to be connected to the political and social

Participation implies that all population segments need to be connected to the political and social processes that affect them. This means that public forums exist where different groups can express dissenting opinions and personal interests, and where these viewpoints are treated as serious input in the decision-making process. At local government level, the most widely used methodology is that of bottom-up planning approach which encourages wider community participation in setting priorities for local development. 17

What is accountability?

Accountability refers to the control of the power exercised within state and society, as well as to the obligation for the people holding power to explain their decisions. In addition, it concerns the duty of the controlling agencies to reward good performance and to sanction abuses of power. Accountability presupposes clear definition of the functions, duties, and rules for the scope of action of public and private institutions. In terms of decentralisation and local governance, accountability relations change and one of the foremost issues is the upward accountability from local governments to the national level. Yet at the same time, the downward accountability to local citizens is a very crucial aspect of local governance and decentralization. 18

What is Social Accountability?

It is citizens working together, to ensure their governments are managing their resources effectively, transparently, and meeting their community’s needs. The people themselves become the key to strengthening the demand for government services. 19 In social accountability, the people ensure that their government works for them. It enables people to ensure that government is working for the growth and progress of all its constituents.

Social accountability sprang from peoples’ aspirations for human development and the core goals of promoting poverty reduction and effective and sustainable development through citizens’ participation in governance. It requires public officials, private employers, or service providers to answer for their policies, actions, and use of funds. It is an approach, initiated by civil society or the state, towards building an accountable and responsive government by relying on civic engagement. 20

For social accountability to be effective, four building blocks or pillars are needed. These are access to and effective use of information; organized and capable civil society organizations or citizen groups (mobilizing public support, advocating, and negotiating change); an enabling environment (in terms of policy, structure, champions in government, mechanisms, and platforms) and cultural resonance (i.e, it has to be context specific, responsive, and transformative).

17 Hans Bjørn Olsen, 2007, Decentralisation And Local Governance, SDC

18 Hans Bjørn Olsen, 2007, Decentralisation And Local Governance, SDC

19 The World Bank. No year. From Shouting to Counting: A New Frontier in Social Development. World Bank, Washington D.C. 20 Arroyo, Dennis. December 2004. Summary Paper on the Stocktaking of Social Accountability Initiatives in Asia and the Pacific. World Bank Institute Community Empowerment and Social Inclusion Learning Program.

Page:

SAS-3 | Module 1 | Session: Basics of SA, GG and DD | lesson: Introduction to the Concepts to GG, DD, LG and SA

Citizens and the government are the most important players of social accountability. The government has

Citizens and the government are the most important players of social accountability. The government has the duty to facilitate access to all information while the citizens must assert their right to participate in governance. This means citizens must organize themselves to be able to engage in this kind of participation.

Social accountability happens in the entire cycle of democratic governance. The idea is that citizenship should not only be exercised during elections when citizens cast their votes. The social accountability approach calls for citizens to remain constantly vigilant and watchful over the performance of elected leaders, bureaucrats, and service providers.

Social accountability covers an extremely broad array of actions that citizens can potentially take to hold government officials and bureaucrats accountable. These actions may be carried out by a wide range of actors (e.g., individual citizens, communities, parliamentarians, CSOs, media), occur at different levels (e.g., local to national), address a variety of different issues (e.g., public policy, political conduct, public expenditures, service delivery) and use diverse strategies (e.g., research, monitoring, participatory planning, civic education, media coverage, coalition building). 21

The social accountability approach presumes, first, that government keeps the door open for people’s participation and, second, that citizens are willing to engage the government. The dynamics of the relationship is constructive government-citizen partnership where citizen groups and nongovernment organizations are willing to expand the range of actions for engaging – or working together – with government in order to assure that government lives up to its duty of delivering services, improving people’s welfare, and protecting people’s rights. Decentralization is one avenue to enable citizen groups to make their governments accountable.

VI) THE ROLE OF SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN DECENTRALIZATION

Effectiveness of service delivery at the local level is highly enhanced and can only be sustained if certain conditions are met by the decentralized system of governance. These conditions include a range of parameters including institutional structures, resources, skills and capacities both at the central and local levels, participation, partnerships as well as local leadership among others. Since it has been found that even with decentralization, good governance may still be glaringly absent, society must find a way to ensure that services and entitlements due them are granted.

Social accountability and its wide range of methods can be a tool citizen groups can use to ensure good governance in the local level, and consequently, in the national government.

21 Malena, Carmen with Forster, Reiner, Singh, Janmejay. 2004. Social Accountability: An Introduction to the Concept and Emerging Practice. In Social Development Papers. The World Bank.

Page:

SAS-3 | Module 1 | Session: Basics of SA, GG and DD | lesson: Introduction to the Concepts to GG, DD, LG and SA

The following are some social accountability methods, along with examples of how these methods have

The following are some social accountability methods, along with examples of how these methods have been practiced by various communities and citizens’ group in different parts of the world: 22

a. Participatory Planning and Policy Formulation:

Simply

put, this

method

allows

citizens to take an active role in the government’s decision-making process.

b. Participatory Budget Analysis: Citizens, through this method, may look at the impact and implications of the government’s budget allocation, and raise awareness on budget-related issues.

c. Participatory Expenditure Tracking: This method enables citizens to monitor and track where the government puts taxpayers’ money.

d. Citizens’ Surveys/Citizen Report Cards: This method essentially gathers feedback of citizens which are aggregated and presented to the general public as a report card on the performance of officials on a range of different issues.

e. Citizen’s Charters: This is an explicit statement of what a public agency is ready to offer as its services and the corresponding rights and entitlements of the people, as well as the remedies available to them should conflict arise. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of service providers, and citizens measure the performance of the former through the standards set by the charter.

f. Community Score Cards: This method is used to assess service delivery in a participatory manner at the community level.

g. Grievance Mechanism: This is a tool for general stakeholder engagement process and dialogue that can help in dispute prevention, dispute management, and dispute resolution. It provides an alternative channel through which citizens can gain recognition for legitimate concerns, engage in a process to secure acceptable solutions, and share in the ownership of that process with the government.

Social accountability, as seen from the various experiences of citizens who have practiced its methods, undoubtedly gives tremendous benefits and positive changes to government processes and practices. These methods are basically conducted and implemented by citizens and citizen group. Social accountability and is accompanying methods can pave the way for good governance in local governments, and consequently in the national government.

VII) GOOD GOVERNANCE, SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND DECENTRALIZATION

The roots of good governance, decentralisation and social accountability are derived from the aspirations for human development and the core goals of promoting poverty reduction and effective and sustainable development through citizens’ participation in governance. 23

22 Misra, Vivrek. 2005. Framework for Government Accountability. CGG

Page:

SAS-3 | Module 1 | Session: Basics of SA, GG and DD | lesson: Introduction to the Concepts to GG, DD, LG and SA

Good governance in government is a must if we are to hope for a better

Good governance in government is a must if we are to hope for a better future for all. However, it is a value not always present; often it must be demanded from officials. Social accountability is one way citizen groups can demand good governance from their officials, and also to practice good governance as well as they also play a significant role in making government work.

Improved governance will require not only strengthened central and local governments but also the involvement

of other actors from civil society organizations and the private sector in partnerships with government at all levels through social accountability. Citizens and the government are the most important players of social accountability. The government has the duty to facilitate access to all information while the citizens must assert their right to participate in governance. This means citizens must organize themselves to be able to engage in this kind of participation.

to be able to engage in this kind of participation. For social accountability mechanisms to be

For social accountability mechanisms to be effective on the long run, it needs to be institutionalized and linked to existing governance structures and service delivery systems. Effectiveness of service delivery at the local level is highly enhanced and can only be sustained if certain conditions are met by the decentralized system of governance. These conditions include a range of parameters including institutional structures, resources, skills and capacities both at the central and local levels, participation, partnerships as well as local leadership among others. Through decentralization of governance, civic engagement for social accountability can be more focused and its impact easily felt.

23 Robertson Work, “The Role of Participation and Partnership in Decentralised Governance: A Brief Synthesis of Policy Lessons and Recommendations of Nine Country Case Studies on Service Delivery for the Poor, (UNDP New York).

Page:

SAS-3 | Module 1 | Session: Basics of SA, GG and DD | lesson: Introduction to the Concepts to GG, DD, LG and SA

References 2007. Governance. In the Data Report. Available at http://www.thedatareport.org A. de Tocqueville. 1835.

References

2007. Governance. In the Data Report. Available at http://www.thedatareport.org

A. de Tocqueville. 1835. Democracy in America. Reprinted 2003. Penguin Classics. Wong, Susan and Guggenheim, Scott. No date. Community-Driven Development: Decentralization’s Accountability Challenge.

Arroyo, Dennis and Sirker, Karen. 2005. Stocktaking of Social Accountability Initiatives in the Asia and the Pacific Region. World Bank Institute.

Arroyo, Dennis. December 2004. Summary Paper on the Stocktaking of Social Accountability Initiatives in Asia and the Pacific. World Bank Institute Community Empowerment and Social Inclusion Learning Program.

European Commission, 2007, Supporting Decentralisation and Local Governance in Third Countries.

Hans Bjørn Olsen, 2007, Decentralisation And Local Governance, SDC

Malena, Carmen with Forster, Reiner, Singh, Janmejay. 2004. Social Accountability: An Introduction to the Concept and Emerging Practice. In Social Development Papers. The World Bank.

Malena, Carmen with Forster, Reiner, Singh, Janmejay. 2004. Social Accountability: An Introduction to the Concept and Emerging Practice. In Social Development Papers. The World Bank.

Misra, Vivrek. 2005. Framework for Government Accountability. CGG

Nzongola-Ntalaja, Georges, 2004 Democratic Governance And Human Rights In The International Framework, Keynote Address, for the Joint Monthly Assembly of the Finnish Advisory Board for Human Rights and the Finnish Development Policy Committee

The Australian Government’s Overseas Aid Program (AusAID). August 2000. Good Governance: Guiding Principles for Implementation. Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Canberra.

The Independent Commission on Good Governance in Public Services. 2004. The Good Governance Standard for Public Services. OPM and CIPFA.

The World Bank. No year. From Shouting to Counting: A New Frontier in Social Development. World Bank, Washington D.C.

Tucker, Stevens. May 22, 2007. Decentralization – Core Concepts and Challenges. Paper presnbeted at the Workshop on The Theory and Practice of Decentralisation and Deconcentration (Social Sectors), Phnom Penh.

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank. 2005. Social Accountability in the Public Sector. Washington DC.

Wong, Susan and Guggenheim, Scott. No date. Community-Driven Development: Decentralization’s Accountability Challenge.

Robertson Work, “The Role of Participation and Partnership in Decentralised Governance: A Brief Synthesis of Policy Lessons and Recommendations of Nine Country Case Studies on Service Delivery for the Poor, (UNDP New York).

Robertson Work, 1998, Factors to Consider in Designing Decentralised Governance Policies and Programmes to Achieve Sustainable People-Centred Development, Management Development and Governance Division, United Nations Development Programme, New York, February

Page:

SAS-3 | Module 1 | Session: Basics of SA, GG and DD | lesson: Introduction to the Concepts to GG, DD, LG and SA