By Neil Overy (freelance consultant).
In South Africa a range of civil society organizations and coalitions have been central to post-Apartheid efforts to protect vulnerable children through social security grants. This case study describes how the persistent campaigning of these organizations has contributed to significant budget and policy changes over the last decade such as the expanded eligibility for the Child Support Grant.
The full version, short summary, and one page summary of this case study are available in English. Summaries are also available in:
April 2017 | by Planact
In February 2016, Planact, with the support of the International Budget Partnership, Social Justice Coalition, and Ndifuna Ukwazi, partnered with the Spring Valley community on a social audit of water service delivery in the informal settlement, aimed at holding the Emalahleni Local Municipality accountable for water provision. This short video highlights their success.
Click here to read more about the project and download Planact’s Social Audit Report.
February 2016 | by Daniel McLaren
If the general public is able to monitor the delivery of services, it can help hold the government to account and, ultimately, improve the quality of the services being delivered. But to effectively monitor services the public needs access to information.
This note explores what information the government needs to publish to enable the effective public monitoring of the delivery of food security through the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) program in South Africa. It documents how much of this information is produced by government and how much of what is produced is publicly available. Finally, it assesses how regular, comprehensive, and accurate the published information is. While focusing on the SRD program specifically, this note speaks to some of the opportunities and challenges associated with budget monitoring as they relate to service delivery priorities in South Africa more generally.
March 2016 | by the Transparency & Accountability Initiative
In the past decade, efforts to promote more open and accountable governance have proliferated. These endeavors have taken on many shapes and sizes, from international multi-stakeholder initiatives to community-level citizen action, and everything in between. Most often, these approaches have sought to leverage elements of transparency and information along with some form of citizen engagement or participation, with the goal of influencing government actions to be more responsive and accountable. But has the formula of transparency + participation = accountability really worked?
Civil society organizations (CSOs) have often been at the front lines of these efforts, whether it be advocating for improved policies, monitoring government actions, mounting legal challenges to ensure accountability, or any number of other strategies. But do all these individual initiatives and approaches, many of which result in specific wins, really to add up to more than the sum of their parts? Furthermore, do external actors too often focus on a relatively narrow set of civil society actors, specifically formal and professional CSOs, failing to engage with diverse membership-based organizations, grassroots movements, and other kinds of citizen mobilization?
In June 2015, researchers and practitioners from the global north and south met to discuss more strategic approaches to citizen-led accountability. Specifically, the workshop organizers sought to explore how CSO efforts could ‘connect the dots’ in ways that involve multiple actors, tools and tactics, and levels of governance. This report draws on the practical experiences and conceptual insights shared during the workshop. Key sections include:
- Conceptual framework for connecting the dots
- Five concrete case study summaries of CSO strategies to connect the dots
- Workshop rapporteur’s report with insights organized around 8 key takeaway points
This report serves as a resource to those who want to address the challenge of isolated and fragmented transparency and accountability interventions that often do not strategically engage with the ecosystem of accountability actors, mechanisms and levels of governance to address the structural causes of corruption, impunity and poor service delivery, but rather more superficial symptoms.
May 2015 | by The International Budget Partnership
The International Budget Partnership’s 2015 Annual Report documents our work over the past year, focusing on what we have achieved and what we have learned. Highlights include a section describing our ongoing work and impact in six countries, an overview of our 2015 research and international advocacy, six essays that discuss key lessons that have come out of reflecting on our work, and six short stories and vignettes that capture the power of budget work.