Global Resources

Influence and Accountability: Citizen Voices, Responsiveness and Accountability in Service Delivery

Author: C. Rakodi
Publisher: One World Action
Publication Date: Jan 2002
How can citizens exercise their right to participate in meaningful ways in order to influence the delivery of basic services? How can the public sector's willingness and ability to respond be increased in accountable and sustainable ways? This report on seminar proceedings from May 2002 entitled From Consultation to Influence brings together the discussions that took place, focusing on these two core questions. Basic services for well-being - understood to include water, sanitation, health care and education - are considered to be a human right. There is a need to reconsider the meaning and application of citizenship and governance if those who are poor and socially marginalised are to have the tools to demand these basic services and gain ownership of both the process and the outcomes. The obstacles are considerable, however, where people are unaware of their rights, opportunities to influence are few and governments are resistant to change. A number of case studies from India, the Philippines, South Africa and Uganda provide lessons on successful approaches where citizens have, in fact, influenced service delivery and budgetary decisions and have held officials to account.