Parliamentary transparency and accountability

This report presents and discusses what evidence exists about initiatives to promote transparency among legislators, members of parliament (MPs), and legislative processes and what impact this has had on legislative accountability. In this report we distinguish between two types of accountability: vertical (in which citizens play a direct role in holding the powerful to ...» more

CSOs supporting accountability in cash transfer programmes

Cash transfer programmes, like most social protection programmes, are vulnerable to fraud, errors, corruption and misuse of funds, which undermine their achievements.  Civil society organisations (CSOs) have supported, or provided, accountability mechanisms in countries around the world: working to improve transparency to help citizens hold authorities accountable; checking ...» more

Open data, transparency and accountability

Voters look for their names outside a polling station in Haiti in 2011, in the second round of the presidential elections (Kendra Helmer/USAID).

Open data involves the release of data so that anyone can access, use and share it. One of the main objectives of making data open is to promote transparency. For open data and transparency initiatives to lead to accountability, the required conditions include: getting the right data published; enabling actors to find, process and use information, and to act on any outputs; ...» more

State-society relations and citizenship

2° ATO Belo Horizonte

State-society relations, citizenship and socio-political cohesion are areas of great importance to statebuilding and peacebuilding and are crucial to an integrated approach. State-society relations are defined by DFID as ‘interactions between state institutions and societal groups to negotiate how public authority is exercised and how it can be influenced by people. They are ...» more

Test it and they might come: Improving the uptake of digital tools in transparency and accountability initiatives

Christopher Wilson and Indra de Lanerolle

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) and data play an increasingly visible role in transparency and accountability initiatives (TAIs). This article investigates TAI tool selection processes in South Africa and Kenya. It argues that in many cases, tools are chosen with only limited testing of their appropriateness for the intended users in the intended contexts, ...» more

Infomediaries and accountability

The term “infomediaries” – or information intermediaries – is used to refer to actors who “synthesize, translate, simplify and direct information on behalf of others”. There appears to be strong evidence of the link between free media and better governance and government responsiveness on a range of issues (e.g. public spending on education and health). A DFID review on ...» more

When does ICT-enabled citizen voice lead to government responsiveness?

Tiago Peixoto and Jonathan Fox

This article reviews evidence on the use of 23 information and communications technology (ICT) platforms to project citizen voice to improve public service delivery. This study begins with a conceptual framework intended to clarify the different links in the causal chain in between ICT-enabled opportunities to express voice (platforms) and institutional responses. In other ...» more

World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends

World Bank

The digital revolution has brought easier communication and information, greater convenience, free digital products, and new forms of leisure.  However, digital dividends have had much less impact on global productivity, expansion of opportunity and the spread of accountable governance than once expected.  This report argues that improving digital dividends requires digital ...» more

Do citizens reward good service? Voter responses to basic service provision in southern Africa

Daniel de Kadt and Evan S. Lieberman

This study tests the accountability hypothesis that dramatic improvements in key basic infrastructural service areas – water provision, sewerage, and refuse collection – lead to increased electoral returns to the incumbent. The findings from four Southern African countries reveals a negative relationship between change in service provision and change in incumbent vote share, ...» more

CSOs holding governments to account

This report summarises interventions by more than 30 civil society organisations (CSOs) to increase government accountability in varied sectors and contexts. CSOs use a wide variety of different media to gather information from citizens, which they then use to press for accountability. Their strategies and tactics for engaging with local and national government ...» more

Social development and human development

Charlotte Kesl / World Bank (A school in Colombia)

This Topic Guide aims to answer the question ‘What is the interaction between social development issues and human development outcomes?’ An individual’s right to lead a long and healthy life, to be educated and to enjoy a decent standard of living cannot be realised without addressing social development issues. This is because these issues determine individuals’ access to ...» more

Grievance Redress Mechanisms in Bangladesh

The rapid literature review identifies literature on types of grievance redress mechanisms (GRM) in Bangladesh. Many current and proposed grievance redress mechanisms in Bangladesh have a number of similar features including: An assigned focal point or grievance redress officer who manage the grievance redress mechanism. There are different focal points for different levels ...» more

Voice, empowerment and accountability

Oxfam's water and sanitation committee, Jamam refugee camp

Voice, empowerment and accountability (VEA) interventions aim to support poor and marginalised people to build the resources, assets, and capabilities they need to exercise greater choice and control over their own development, and to hold decision-makers to account. This guide provides an overview of the best available evidence on the impact of VEA interventions. It identifies ...» more

Post-2015 accountability mechanisms

Key messages: The Post-2015 Development Agenda refers to a currently ongoing process of defining the future global development framework, which will succeed the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The details and wording are yet to be agreed, but there are, however, a significant number of proposals for goals and targets, and with them descriptions, in some ...» more

Electoral accountability in Indonesia

There are many different definitions of electoral accountability. For the purposes of this report, electoral accountability is defined as citizens’ ability to use electoral mechanisms to incentivise politicians to act in their interests. In his literature review on electoral institutions and local government accountability Packel (2008, p. 1) notes that that “little ...» more

Transparency and accountability

More and better data is thought to be a necessary but not sufficient condition for increasing citizens’ access to that data. Likewise, increased access to more and better data is seen as a necessary but not sufficient condition for strengthening a government’s political accountability to its citizens. To date, however, there is limited understanding of exactly how, where and ...» more

Budget accountability and participation

Experts agree that the evidence base on budget transparency, accountability and participation is limited and underdeveloped. However there are a growing number of case studies and meta-analyses covering a wide geographic scope and diverse contexts, with a variety of methods and gender sensitivity. Key findings from the evidence include the following: There are examples ...» more

Interventions for collective action and accountability

Collective action has a relatively long history in political science and economic theory, but its application to governance programming in development is a relatively new phenomenon. As such there is little evidence of interventions that have been specifically designed to address collective action failures and increase accountability. There is, however, a range of literature ...» more