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Public Sector and Governance

Three Examples of Procurement Monitoring by Civil Society

Sabina Panth's picture

In my previous blog, I had discussed procurement monitoring in the light of the large amount of government money lost in public procurement due to corruption and whether civil society can play an effective role in curbing such waste.   I promised readers that I would come back to the topic, with innovative methods used by civil society in procurement reform.  My search shows that techniques such as (i) coalition building among civil society organizations, (ii) issue-based advocacy campaigns and, (iii) third party monitoring have been effective in civil engagement in public procurement. However, the success primarily depends on government cooperation and ownership of these processes.  To illustrate this point, I will analyze three case studies, drawing heavily from the book, “Our Money, Our Responsibility: A Citizen’s Guide to Monitor Government Expenditures,” published by the International Budget Partnership. 

Quote of the Week

Antonio Lambino's picture

"Democratic procedures and public service media are... important correctives to the mistaken trust in the therapeutic powers of unbridled technical expertise... The belief in technocratic solutions... does not properly acknowledge that the language games used to define and portray risk frame the policy process, and in turn govern the attempted regulation of risk.  The belief in technocratic solutions is also dangerous insofar as it can bolster the temptations to deal with... risks through dirigiste policies or by resorting to states of emergency and crackdowns on the media.  Democracy and public service media are unrivalled remedies for technocratic delusions of this kind.  They raise the level and quality of 'risk communication' by guaranteeing the open flow of opinions, risk evaluations and controversies back and forth among individual citizens, academic experts, administrators, interest groups and social movements.  Democratic procedures combined with public service media can open up and render accountable the process in which citizens, experts, and policymakers comprehend, estimate, evaluate and deal with the probabilities and consequences of risks."

- John Keane (1991), The Media and Democracy

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The People's Purse: Budgeting for the Poor

Antonio Lambino's picture

It is uncontroversial that the resources governments spend belong to the people.  How these resources get allocated varies from country to country at the national and local levels.  Debates and deliberations surrounding the budgetary process are usually technical, tedious, and time-consuming.  Nonetheless, budgeting in the public sector is a critical entry point for the demand for better public goods and services and, more broadly, meaningful and effective citizen engagement.  If citizens could exercise their voices in the prioritization of public sector spending, then government programs would have a higher likelihood of reflecting the needs and wants of constituents.  So a key challenge and opportunity in this area is finding a judicious balance between solid technical analysis and meaningful citizen participation.