Social accountability is the fostering of direct linkages between citizens and service providers. It can be thought of as working both prior to the delivery of a service (for example, residents meet with local government officials to set budgets so that spending aligns with community needs) as well as after a service has – or has not – been delivered (such as a complaints mechanism for residents to report police who fail to respond to calls for help).
Before citizens can demand improved performance from the state, at least a sub-set of people must have some understanding of their rights – and the state’s role in delivering upon them. In many Pacific countries, notions of state and citizenship are under-developed and general levels of education (and literacy) are very low. Furthermore, the failure of some states to deliver basic services for many years undermines citizens’ expectations that they ever will – and thus there being any use in demanding them.
Open and responsive government
Even though the aim of social accountability is to encourage open and responsive governments, accountability measures are unlikely to be introduced unless the government is somewhat amenable (or at least not obstructive) to them in the first place. In this regard, many states in the Pacific, characterized in large part by fluid democratic systems, would seem conducive. Perhaps more cautiously, responsiveness also entails the ability of governments to respond to citizen-led demand. If raised citizen expectations are not also met by change, this may actually increase frustration and diminish citizen-state relations.
Active civil society
An active civil society, including a free media, is critical for implementing social accountability processes. National media can develop ideas of state and citizenship, as well as report on the shortcomings of government. Civil society can publicize citizen’s rights and help people access accountability processes. An independent and civic minded press exists in some countries, though low literacy constrains its impact. Strong domestic NGOs are rare, and their work is often confined to the major cities and towns – though extensive faith-based organizations may provide options.
Click here https://blogs.worldbank.org/eastasiapacific/why-dont-we-see-social-accountability-in-the-pacific to view full story.
My takes: social accountability requires active civil society, which demands for a thin wall between families.