Enhancing transparent governance and prevention of corruption and conflict of interest in the units of the local self -government via strengthening the role of the civil society and media in the decision making process is one of the goals of the project “Support to Strengthening the National and Local Integrity Systems”. One of the key mechanisms to achieve this is to enable the citizens and civil society organisations to hold the local government units accountable and responsive to their needs.
Based on the latest National State Programme for Prevention of Corruption and Conflict of Interests 2011-2015, several risk areas were identified in terms of lack of participation of the civil sector in the working procedures and lack of transparency in the service delivery of the local government units. Delivering services effectively and transparently requires a system of accountability in which citizens will have access to information and through which they can monitor performance of the municipality and demand accountability for services they receive. The sustainability and effectiveness of the social accountability mechanism is achieved when it is institutionalised. Thus, the implementation of the social accountability tools should be built into the local governance framework as a policy in order to ensure that the accountability chain– from citizens to the local government and vice versa is achieving its goal.
A key element in successful implementation of the social accountability tools is increase of the involvement and reliance on the civil society and media. Representing citizens’ interests, they are the main users of the accountability channels for obtaining information from the local government units for engaging in the policy making process on a local level . In contribution to this, partnership between CSOs and media with the local government units should be established in terms of adopting new transparency and accountability mechanisms and monitoring tools that will serve to prevention of corruption and conflict of interest and more transparent services from the local government.
The project will focus on conducting assessment of the systemic and institutional weaknesses and capacity gaps, which prevent civil society to effectively engage in the dialogue and oversee the performance of local government units. It will also examine existing accountability tools and capacities on a local level and suggest new, more effective ones to be implemented.
The newly developed social accountability platform should be agreed and adopted by the national and local authorities in order to internalize the new forms of accountability having in mind the specific context and institutional structures. For this purpose, the local government units should set clear procedures for interaction and feedback with citizens, allowing a structured and easy access to official information, redress mechanisms and allow civil society and media involvement in the decision making process of the municipality by using the accountability tools.
The recruited international expert is expected to work together with the social media expert and under the direct supervision of the Project Manager of the project “Support to Strengthening National and Local Integrity Systems.” The expert will also receive strategic guidance and consult with the UNDP Governance Team.
The objective of the assignment is to revisit the existing and propose new social accountability platform for the local self-government units that would serve the purposes of preventing corruption and promoting the good governance principles. The developed social accountability platform will contribute to consolidating the civic engagement around the issues of prevention and fight against corruption and conflict of interests.
More specifically, an assessment and analysis of the existing social accountability mechanisms and tools in the local government units will be conducted. Particular attention will be paid to the operationalization of the key principles which are at the heart of the democratic governance and prevention of corruption, such as participation, transparency and voice of the citizens.
The assessment will be focused on 6 pilot municipalities but it should also provide a general overview of the level of social accountability in the country based on the existing data and surveys.
The focus of the analysis will be on:
- The current efforts of the key partners in civil society, media and the private sector to demand accountability from the institutions.
- Identification of systemic and institutional weaknesses and capacity gaps, which prevent non-state actors to effectively engage and oversee the performance of local government units.
- Specific analysis of potentials of women’s participation in designing and implementing anti-corruption initiatives through various social accountability tools.
This will contribute to strengthening the mechanisms for reporting by the local government units, publicly making available information about local government performance to citizens, in an understandable format. In this context, the rapid development of the IT technologies and the fact that social media has already been changing communication patterns – will be considered as opportunity to identify innovative ways to address anti-corruption issues while capitalizing on the existing anti-corruption and accountability efforts.
This activity envisages support of the new social accountability platform with technology-enabled solutions, particularly the use of social media. The new solutions will aim to enhance accountability of local governance and reinforce the integrity/good governance.