Advocacy for public accountability aims to produce certain reactions from government officials or service providers. However, the reactions can be many and diverse, and it is not always clear to advocates how to interpret them and decide on next steps—whether to intensify efforts or back off; continue the same strategy or make adjustments.

This paper presents a framework to help accountability advocates and practitioners interpret government reactions to their efforts and move forward appropriately. The framework arises from learning and reflection in the context of the International Budget Partnership (IBP)’s Strengthening Public Accountability with Results and Knowledge (SPARK) program. SPARK seeks to bolster the collective agency of marginalized communities and coalitions to advance democratic and equitable fiscal governance systems1 that channel public resources to services that address the priority needs of these historically excluded groups. The paper does the following:

The RRA framework supports accountability-claiming practice by facilitating close attention to the actions of and influences on key government stakeholders, careful interpretation of these, and consequential adjustments to advocacy strategies.

Its implications for monitoring, evaluating, and learning (MEL) from practice are also significant. MEL has been evolving in the accountability field in line with the thinking and practical challenges behind the development of the RRA framework. The framework adds to a range of emerging approaches that support the application theories of change, evidence-based adaptive programming, and politically aware systems thinking in the complex task of building accountable responsiveness towards constituencies historically excluded from public goods and services, and ultimately equitable development outcomes from an intersectional perspective.