This Briefing Note synthesises experience with citizen voice and accountability in the education and health sectors and highlights the role of information and communication processes in promoting participation, transparency and accountability. It provides practical insights into the issues and opportunities for interventions that promote voice and accountability to contribute to improved outcomes. It aims to assist advisers and programme managers to navigate the growing body of literature and to better integrate voice and accountability into health and education sector work.
The paper analyses voice and accountability initiatives in six categories, including brief case studies:
- Support to civil society to establish the pre-conditions for voice, for example, social mobilisation and raising awareness of entitlements.
- Citizen-led initiatives to influence service delivery through the ‘short route’, for example, score cards and social audits.
- Citizen-led initiatives to influence policy through the first leg of the ‘long route’, for example, public expenditure tracking surveys.
- Joint government-civil society initiatives, for example government sponsored health facility and school management committees.
- Government systems of horizontal accountability and government-led initiatives to create an enabling environment, such as parliamentary committees, and citizen charters.
- Supply-led (public, private or NGO) initiatives to strengthen the management and accountability of service providers to policy-makers through the second leg of the ‘long route’, including the creation of user choice through instruments such as demand-side financing.
The report concludes with seven recommendations:
- Map the political economy of the sector and understand the context.
- Ensure specific accountability initiatives are aligned with broader governance developments.
- Promote access to and the effective use of information.
- Strengthen institutional capacity to respond to demands.
- Promote voice and accountability that is inclusive and pro-poor.
- Identify an appropriate combination of aid instruments to promote domestic accountability.
- Build the evidence base through on-going documentation of country experience and impact evaluations.