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Scaling accountability through vertically integrated civil society policy monitoring and advocacy

Department For International Development

March 3
12:45 2020

Abstract

This working paper argues that the growing field of transparency, participation and accountability (TPA) needs a conceptual reboot, to address the limited traction gained so far on the path to accountability. To inform more strategic approaches and to identify the drivers of more sustainable institutional change, fresh analytical work is needed. This paper makes the case for one among several possible strategic approaches by distinguishing between scaling up and taking scale into account. This proposition grounds an explanation of the vertical integration strategy, which involves multi-level coordination by civil society organisations of policy monitoring and advocacy, grounded in broad pro-accountability constituencies. To spell out how this strategy can empower pro-accountability actors, the paper contrasts varied terms of engagement between state and society, proposing a focus on collaborative coalitions as an alternative to the conventional dichotomy between confrontation and constructive engagement. The paper grounds this discussion by reviewing the rich empirical terrain of existing multi-level approaches, summarizing nine cases three each in three countries to demonstrate what can be revealed when TPA initiatives are seen through the lens of scale. It concludes with a set of broad analytical questions for discussion, followed by testable hypotheses proposed to inform future research agendas. A Spanish translation of the original research summary is also available. See under More details.

This work is part of the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) programme

Citation

Fox, J. (2016) Scaling accountability through vertically integrated civil society policy monitoring and advocacy, Brighton: IDS.

Scaling accountability through vertically integrated civil society policy monitoring and advocacy

Published 1 December 2016