Social accountability: an antidote for corruption

July 4, 2015 BY Junaid Zahid

Accountability is a consequence of the implicit social compact between citizens and their delegated representatives and agents. Social accountability is a new buzzword for the development partners around the world in order to understand accountability that is based on civic engagement. Social accountability is regarded as demand side of good governance, which involves ordinary citizens and civil society organisations who contribute directly or indirectly in gaining accountability from their elected representatives and leaders.

Social accountability has great potential to participate in poverty reduction through more-pro-poor policy design, improved service delivery, and empowerment. It also has important gender implications and is systematically lessened at every level of government in almost every country all over the world. Social accountability is strictly allied to rights-based approaches to development. The responsibility of government representatives to be answerable to citizens derives from views of citizens and wider set of human rights.

Social accountability is being progressively renowned by state and non-state institutions as a means of improving democratic governance and service delivery. Social accountability mechanisms, including participatory budgeting, public expenditure tracking, citizen report cards, community score cards, social audit, citizen charters, public hearings, community radio, citizens’ juries, etc, perform a dominant role in improving governance and deepening democracy. These mechanisms have proved predominantly useful in the framework of decentralisation, facilitating to build up links between citizens and local-level governments and supporting local authorities and service-providers to become more responsive and effective.

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