TAC Anticorruption And Social Accountability Models
The District Integrity Promotion Forum Model (DIPF)
The District Integrity Promotion Forum (DIPF) is a state led accountability mechanism which brings together key accountability stakeholders at the district level. The role of Civil Society under the National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2014-2019. DIPF is the primary state led accountability platform at the Local Government level and is chaired by the Resident District Commissioner with the Chief Administrative Officer as the secretary to preside over the operations of the forum. The Terms of Reference (TOR) for the forum stipulates nine functions including; provide exemplary leadership; provide a plat form for reporting on corruption and accountability; monitor the implementation of government programmes; spearhead the formulation and implementation of by-laws; follow up the prosecution of corruption cases; ensure the establishment and operationalization of the district code of conduct, to name but a few. The forum also recognizes the contribution of the CSOs to the fight against corruption and embraces their participation in this endeavor as provided for under objective 2, page 32 of the National Anticorruption Strategy 2014-2019. The other members of the DIPF are the District Police Commander, the Inspectorate of Government, Resident State Attorney, the Area Magistrate/Judge, the District Service Commission, District Public Accounts Committee and representative of accountability CSOs among others. The DIPF, by design meets quarterly to discuss accountability issues and securing commitments to address the issues.
In view of the above, the DIPF is designed to respond to the challenges as well as consolidate the achievements that partners have registered in fighting corruption. The DIPF further enables Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Local Governments and CSOs to strengthen networking and collaboration in fighting corruption; empower the citizens to effectively participate in fighting corruption in Uganda as well as strengthen the capacity of actors to spearhead the anti-corruption crusade. In light of the mandate of CSOs as key actors under this forum, TAC finds this model effective as it endeavors to comply with global, regional, and National standards in the fight against corruption, especially as provided for in the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCaC).
Whereas the primary responsibility for coordination of the implementation of this model is the mandate of the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity (DEI), the DIPF is seen as a replica of the Inter Agency Forum (IAF) at local government hence making this a strong model with a greater presence at all level thereby enabling partners to contribute to the fight against corruption. We however, recommend that for this model to work and deliver results as has been in our case, those replicating it should come up with an elaborate action plan, monitoring and evaluation framework to engage all the categories of the membership in the district to enhance information sharing, aid decision making and meaningful engagement of different stakeholders at different levels to realize the planned results. This is where TAC has registered tremendous results through the Joint monitoring that engages all the members of this forum through site selection and visits to generate information for engagement meetings to discuss the findings and prescribe remedies to the issues raised in the monitoring reports.
Our literature review has further showed that TAC has enabled the districts to feel ownership of all processes from review and action planning meetings, monitoring, discussion, decision taking and enforcement of action plans. This is widely documented in the TAC 2013, 2014 and 2015 progress and annual reports reviewed. In our view, this model has led to increased responsiveness of Local Government to issues raised by the communities and is likely to positively encourage citizen engagement through monitoring service delivery and reporting cases of corruption to the appropriate authorities. Apart from TAC, this model is also being used by the Anticorruption Coalition Uganda who are engaging the Judiciary, one of the members of the forum through addressing corruption in the judicial systems, it’s used also by the Rwenzori Anticorruption Coalition, The Apac Anticorruption Coalition among others.
We however have realized that this model is largely dependent on the good will of the leaders and hence could fail if the leaders to drive it especially on the side of government are not willing to embrace it. We also realized that this forum is not constituted in all districts of Uganda and even where it has been constituted, there are concerns relating to how the forum is facilitated financially to run business as well as delays in responding to the issues raised. This presents the biggest weakness of this model. For TAC to realize the results, it had to take over the financing and convening of the forum meetings. We are yet to see a case where the district carried out site visits and convened meetings and enforce action without the pressure from CSOs hence those replicating this model need to consider such aspects.
The Community Score Card (CSC) Model
The Community scorecard is a two way ongoing participatory tool for planning, monitoring and evaluation of services as experienced by the users and service providers . Consumer Utility Trust Society (CUTS) International India defines CSC as a hybrid instrument to exact social and public accountability and responsiveness from service providers . This implies that the CSC combines a variety of other models like social audits, community report cards among others in addressing service delivery issues The CSC tracks services and programmes to ascertain whether they are progressing well. The main goal of the CSC is to positively influence the quality, efficiency and accountability with which services are provided at different levels.
The Community Score Card brings together the service providers like health center staff and school staff to interact with service users by generating a list of parameters to subject to scoring on a given scale. It’s important to note that at this stage, one should have good skills in facilitating Focus Group Discussions for the process is to deliver the intended objective. Using an agreed scale, both service users and service providers score the same parameters and a joint meeting is convened to harmonize the two scores with objectivity and justification. As a result, a joint action plan to address the service gaps identified is developed . In 2015, TAC adopted the use of this model to operationalize Grass Roots Accountability Committees in assessing the quality of services provided in the sectors of health and education. While TAC is yet to document successes from this model, it has been proven elsewhere that this model is largely successful in many social accountability and community engagement interventions as seen in Care International Malawi, Water Aid Ghana among others.
Community score cards can be of great benefit if partners adopting them put the following in mind according to the UNICEF Vietnam CSC guide 2011-2015; CSC are a process including feedback, dissemination and follow up; CSC need to be adapted to the local context, they can be combined with other community approaches and can have greater impact if they are institutionalized and are repeated at regular intervals.
The biggest constraint with this model is that it’s often difficult to control Focus Group Discussions as some community members are more outgoing and outspoken than others and at the same time, it’s not easy to always have all key actors attend the meetings.
In the TAC experience, one of the limitations of this approach is its inability to resolve systematic failed accountability apart from dealing with just operational failures. In cases where corruption and failed accountability is more systemic ; then a single facility or frontline service provider will not be able to prescribe adequate solutions requiring a more effective models of social accountability operating beyond the service unit. For this reason, it’s important to ensure that partners adopting this model are prepared to follow issues of failed accountability beyond the service unit and responses at that level. This could require a mixture of models as documented by TAC including the SCADs and the DIPF models as documented in the later stages of this publication.
The School Outreach Model
The school outreach model is designed by TAC to engage the “in school” youth in accountability work in a bid to prepare them as future role models in leadership. This model was developed by TAC with a recognition that Uganda has one of the most youthful population in the world with 78% of Ugandans below 30 years . The report further highlighted that 52% of Uganda’s population is below 15 years. The national Youth Policy 2001 defines a youth as a person between the ages of 12-30 years . Although this contradicts with the UN that defines a youth as person between the ages of 15-24 years, this model by TAC remains very useful as it targets the category of the population which is often times active and easy to influence and quick to learn morals and ethical values.
This model was adopted after a survey by MS Uganda in 2008 which indicated that youth generally have low interest in issues of governance and are unable to engage in social and political accountability and over 50% would engage in corruption if they accessed a public office. Under this model, the youth are equipped with relevant information on governance, anticorruption and accountability to generate open debate and essay competitions among them guided by well thought topics and trained patrons selected among the teachers in the target schools. In order to enhance knowledge on accountability issues, TAC provides to each of the participating school selected law books, newspaper clips bearing stories of how corruption affects communities and organizes regular assessments and gives awards to best debaters and essay writers. This enables the students to exhibit their talents through Anticorruption poems, songs, dances and drama skits. The quick benefits of this models so far is enhanced capacity of “in school” youth to provide political leadership out of school, within school as well as leadership in the fight against corruption.
However, it is worth noting that the investment in the young citizens will build future leaders to whom the values of anticorruption are deeply rooted hence requires time to measure the impact and partners wishing to replicate this model need to have that in mind. Another constraint is in terms of the cost involved in running the clubs and also the overwhelming demands from those schools not targeted by the programme.
Grass Roots Accountability Committees (GACs) Model
The Grassroots Accountability Committees (GACs) is one of the oldest models invented by TAC in 2006 to put citizens at the core of service delivery monitoring and later provide the information needed to aid the demand for quality services from the duty bearers. The mode works through organizing communities into GACs who receive training in corruption and accountability concepts to aid them in generating information and compile monitoring reports on issues affecting service delivery. As a mechanism of fulfilling objective two of the NACs that seeks to empower citizens to participate in anticorruption measures at national and local levels coupled with the realization that un organized and disempowered citizens is one of the key drivers of corruption , we see this model as a tool for stimulating community interest in matters of corruption especially at lower local governments. In our view, the success of this model is grounded in Article 17(1)d of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda and this provides the basis upon which partners hoping to replicate this model find legal base to apply this model.
Apart from TAC, this model is also used by Transparency International Uganda (TIU) , Anticorruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU) among others. While TAC rides on the structure of Grassroots Accountability Committees (GACs), TIU uses Volunteer Action Committees (VACs) while ACCU uses Independent Budget Monitors (IBMs) among other terminologies. Our realization is that the concept of voluntarism cuts across all the partners using this model. The greatest risk though is the fact that overdependence in voluntarism is often subjective and people understand voluntarism differently. For example, in the UN terminology, voluntarism attracts pay while for other organizations, volunteers are not entitled to any form of pay. Another weakness is in terms of whistle blower protection. Although Uganda enshrined the Volunteer Protection Act 2010, Uganda’s are still grappling with issues of how this law is operates and hence remain reserved in practice. Even partners who have excelled in the use of this model are yet to understand the operations of the law as well as put in place internal mechanisms for protecting the whistle blowers. Lastly, this model is costly in terms of training and facilitating the committee members to keep abreast with the emerging issues and concepts of corruption and refresh them in terms of knowledge and skills.
Because this models operates through direct engagement with leaders and issues raised as seen above, it poses a threat to community members especially while the whistle blower protection law is not clearly understood by those willing to expose and report corruption. We recommend that partners willing to replicate this model lobby for simplification of this law for easy understanding and advocate with those in authority to make sure that they guarantee the protection required by the whistle blowers. On the basis of the above, partners replicating this model have these concerns to consider.
The Sub County Accountability Dialogue (SCAD) Model
The SCAD model is one of the lowest accountability platforms and takes place at the sub county level. The SCAD is a platform provided by TAC for communities to engage leaders arising from the monitoring reports. This model therefore helps in consuming the reports provided by the GACs. This model has been operationalized by TAC for over 10 years and has been replicated by government under the office of the Prime Minister dubbed the Baraza. The slight difference though is that the baraza collects communities to raise issues during the meeting as opposed to the SCAD in which reports are already prepared by the GACS and are presented to the leaders to generate their responses. The baraza combines issues generation and responses at the same time. The SCADs are designed to be conducted quarterly to receive and discuss the monitoring report of the previous quarter as prepared by the GACs. The GACs typically prepare issues papers from their monitoring intervention and use the SCAD as a public accountability forum or platform in which they expose the issues and demand for action.
The strengths of this model are in the fact that it is able to ensure wider participation by citizens and builds the capacity of citizens to engage in affairs that affect them. It has also been able to increase on community ownership of public projects through joining in the quest for accountability. This model is cherished for its realization that not all mandate to respond to the concerns is available at the sub county level hence some issues are referred to the District level accountability forum, the DIPF. One major strengths of this model in TAC is that information relating to feedback obtained at either sub county or district level is provided to the communities on radio during talk-shows and feedback hours designed by TAC. In light of the above, we recommend that partners wishing to replicate this model provide for avenues to offer feedback to the communities should issues require further debate and dialogue. In this way, TAC has managed to keep the communities interested in raising and demanding for accountability. We further recommend that those adopting this model should have structures that generate the issues and present them to the leaders as opposed to the baraza model that often faces issues of communities failing to raise issues as they are not well documented and researched. This leaves a gap for leaders to often dodge or disregard the issues as baseless.
Another weakness with this model again is in the fact that exposure is done in public sometimes with very little or no mechanism for whistle blower protection. There is also frustration by the members of the public with slow or no action. Systematic recentralization from the Sub County back to the district and the district to central government also fails the premise of social accountability that there is an accountability relationship between the locals and their elected leaders at all levels and on all issues.
The Citizen Parliament Model
The citizens’ Parliament is a platform for presenting community issues to the attention of the leaders using village forums called citizens’ Parliaments or neighborhood assemblies in which women, men and youth debate service delivery matters. The Citizen Parliament is a community led initiative where citizen set the agenda depending on key service delivery concerns in the community and invite the leaders to respond. It differs from the SCAD in that there is no structured issues paper used to guide the discussion but rather an open and spontaneous discourse between the citizen and their elected representative. The purpose is mainly to call to account on the exercise of vested authority and to involve the citizen in retaining their voice to demand explanations. Discussions are usually on decisions of council, service delivery gaps that need political actions, planning and budgeting prioritization and social accountability for quality service delivery.
This model operates as a replica of the parliament where the speaker presides over the discussions and guides the deliberations. The ‘speaker’ and ‘ministers’ make ‘statements’ on aspects related to their dockets and chat the way forward for the best possible solution. Duty bearers in attendance make commitments to address the concerns. TAC builds the capacity of the members and logistics for follow-up on the agreed actions as well as giving feedback publically on the outcomes of the meetings during radio shows. Other than TAC, this model has also made greater improvements in the Busoga region as advanced by Ednance Kiiza, the Busiki LRP Coordinator under Action Aid Uganda where health services, education and roads have improved as a result of the neighborhood assembly paper presented to the sub county council of Namalemba Sub county. In light of the above, this model helps diffuse political power thereby placing it on the people. The parallel mock space has also been able to breed political tolerance and consensus in decision making. The model also influences the allocation of resources to popularly identified priorities as per the deliberations in the ‘parliament as evidenced in Namunyumya parish that received UGX 7M for repair of a road in Namalemba Sub county of Iganga district
There is however, an improvement to be made in this model in terms of making it more structured, providing adequate opportunity for duty bearers to make informed responses and to participate adequately in the ‘parliament’ as well as in tracking actions taken against agreed commitments by the leaders. For purposes of replication, partners need to consider the above into account and study further the experience of other partners that have tried this model.
The Complaints Support Desk Model
TAC also designed a model to attend to the aspect of the need for victim support and perpetuator accountability in anticorruption interventions. This model would deal with cases of corruption, abuse of power and discretion as well as impacts of failed accountability on individual lives and welfare. The approach that was adopted was the provision of a walk-in client complaints desk at the office and at times, the mobile events where other TAC models are implemented. With a complaints desk in place, relevant documentation skills are provided to enable members of staff receive, document, categorize, analyze and profile the different cases requiring attention. The model is also aimed at providing whistle blower protection to the members of the public who may prefer to anonymous in the process of reporting corruption related cases.
Complainants with real or prima facie cases of corruption walk into the TAC office to make a complaint and have the option of choosing confidentiality and whistle blower protection. The recorded complaints are given an analyzed to determine whether they can be processed internally or referred other relevant partners including government agencies for redress and feedback given to the clients. This model is one creative initiatives by TAC and is growing in terms of size and cases handled. This is evident in the TAC 2013 baseline survey in which 14.6% respondents indicated that TAC is their preferred place of reporting corruption cases even over the formal institutions of government like the Inspectorate of government with just 9% . In terms of scope of matters reported, there is a wider scope including access to land justice, labour dispute resolution and human rights cases.
The challenges with this is the increasing instances of forum shopping with some complainants getting compromised in the process of case management hence frustrates the case management mechanisms; follow up with whistle blowers and guaranteeing their protection throughout the stages of their complaint; delays by the Referral causes clients to loss of interest in some cases and expanded scope to no thematic areas also stretches the resources available to this mechanism and dilutes quality assurance.
Partners replicating this model need to be able to develop clear referral pathways, address whistle blower protection, manage expectations and ensure organizational work ethics are intact at all stages of case management. A clear communications and public relations strategy also needs to be put in place to manage fall outs, negative reporting by frustrated or frivolous complainants as well as provide the most needed feedback.