ANSA–EAP Research Team
Part 2 of 2
In the first installment of this blog post, we shared our initial observations of existing governance indexes and social accountability assessment frameworks.
Meanwhile, here are some of our initial reflections and thinking about the social accountability (SAc) index:
- Our analyses point to possible considerations in establishing a niche for the SAc index. First off, there seems to be some space for a regional assessment framework in East Asia and Pacific. We need to inquire though if there are enough bases for such cross-country measurement. Looking at how accountability is viewed, the SAM in Tanzania provides an excellent peg for a more citizen-oriented assessment approach. Finally, our preference for a simple but comprehensive tool means a SAc index would probably rely more on direct data from stakeholders, and include both input and result indicators.
- Our colleague’s initial idea of having “citizens measuring government performance” as an indicator could be a good one. But, as what the comparative review above tells us, we need some balance between input (or process) and result indicators. Adopting this perspective, we put forward the following comments:
- Why do we need to assess the SAc situation in a given locality, a particular country, or within the EAP region? Perhaps this is the first important question to tackle, and one that would have implications to the design of the assessment framework and tools. Oslo Governance Centre’s spectrum of objectives for doing a governance assessment (customized to SAc) could provide a good starting point in answering this:
- It is within the context of the proposed SAc index or assessment framework serving as a mechanism for stakeholder dialogue that the more normative aspect of such a project comes to the fore. In other words, apart from asking what the SAc index’s use or value will be for network partners, it is important also to ask what the regional secretariat’s agenda is for this project. We propose the following: 1) Provide push towards scaling up of SAc initiatives (through expansion of focus to other PFM spheres, and aggregation of findings for policy work); 2) Promote enhanced focus on the rights and interests of poor, women, and other vulnerable groups (in selecting areas for monitoring, customizing the tools, mobilizing groups, evaluating results); 3) Facilitate more programmatic learning and knowledge sharing as strategies for sustained SAc practice.
- Other concerns: 1) Partnership building as aspect of the SAc index development process, towards ensuring buy in and substantive participation; 2) Coming out with a good mix of methods for data collection and analysis; 3) Inclusion of poverty- and gender-sensitive indicators (voice, power to influence decision-making, access to services, control over productive assets, etc.); 4) Building capacities for data gathering, collaborative analysis, and strategic communication of assessment results.
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