U4 Issue Paper Released on “Doing Accountability Differently: A proposal for the vertical integration of civil society monitoring and advocacy”

Doing Accountability Differently: A proposal for the vertical integration of civil society monitoring and advocacy is a recently released U4 Anti-Corruption Research Centre Issue Paper co-written by Jonathan Fox of American University and Joy Aceron of Government Watch (G-Watch), a long-time PTF partner in the Philippines.

The piece puts forward propositions on “doing accountability differently” through strategies that tackle power and systemic issues in order to address root causes (instead of just the symptoms) of corruption and bad governance through balanced and synergistic, multi-level and multi-actor actions on transparency, participation and accountability.

It includes a case study on a pioneering work on social accountability first supported by PTF, Textbook Count, implemented by G-Watch. Textbook Count is perhaps the most well-studied social accountability initiative with about 8-10 published works written about it. What the narrative in this publication attempts to uniquely contribute in restudying Textbook Count is the use of a new lens, Vertical Integration, which uncovered the complexity of how and why the program worked and the limits of what it has achieved in light of the changing context in politics and governance in the Philippines over time.

The piece implicitly disputes the simplistic, linear and single project-based propositions on how and why initiatives on social accountability and anti-corruption work or not; how and why civil society initiatives get sustained and scaled up or not; and how and why context matters in transparency, participation and accountability work.

The paper has been peer-reviewed by several experts in the field, including Rosemarie McGee of Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and Aranzazu Guillen, who also contributes a section on policy recommendations to donors and other key stakeholders that aim to pull attention and support to this “different way of doing accountability.