Community Score Cards (CSC): A Tool for Social Accountabililty to be Tested in Bulacan, Caloocan, Pasay and Quezon City
Citizens engagement should be promoted in all fronts. It is our right to take part in decision-making process, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of government policies, programs and services. People have the right to a transparent, accountable and participative governance, both at the national and local level.
Accountability in governance can be defined as the obligation of power holders to account for or take responsibility for their actions. “Power holders” are those who hold political, financial, or other forms of power, including officials in government, private corporations, international financial institutions and civil society organizations.
Social accountability is a “an approach towards building accountability that relies on civic engagement, i.e. in which ordinary citizens and/or civil society organizations participate directly or indirectly in exacting accountability.” it also “refers to the broad range of actions and mechanisms (beyond voting) that citizens can use to help government be more effective and accountable, as well as actions on the part of government, civil society, media and other societal actors that promote or facilitate these efforts”
Furthermore, social accountability is a process of constructive engagement between citizen groups and government , a means to check and monitor the conduct and performance of public officials in their use of public resources ; and a mechanism towards delivering better services, improving people’s welfare, and protecting people’s rights.
One approach to promote social accountability is through the development of Community Score Cards (CSC). In a training conducted by CPE for 40 community leaders in Quezon City, Caloocan City, City of San Jose del Monte and Pasay City (thanks to FES for supporting the activity), Ms. Corrine Canlas enlightened the group on the concepts and practice of CSC. (CPE will publish a manual on CSC within October 2009 as a result of the workshop-training held).
According to Ms. Canlas, CSC is ¨a tool to generate “demand-side” information to enhance social accountability. It can also raise awareness and promote local-level mobilization and organization. Also, it can produce meaningful information and analysis which can be understood by all stakeholders and go beyond mere protest to evidence-based dialogues.
The main objective of the CSC is to influence the quality, efficiency and accountability of public services provided at the local level.
CSC can also be a follow-up or a continuing activity for Barangay Development Planning through Participatory Learning and Action (BDP-PLA).
Based on experience, CSC can produce the following outcomes:
- Downward accountability of service providers
- Empowerment of local service users
- Enhanced transparency
- Enhanced sensitivity of service users to providers’ constraints
- Evidence of service performance and
- Agreements on local reforms
Pilot testing of CSC as a social accountability mechanism for planning, monitoring and evaluation will be tested in Barangay 91 Pasay City; Barangay Graceville, City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan; in Barangay Pasong Putik Proper, Quezon City; and in Barangay 176 (Bagong Silang), Caloocan City.