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This section covers a range of
mechanisms and tools that involve citizens and/or independent agencies
in performing an oversight or watchdog role vis-à-vis government in
order to help curb corruption, build public trust in government and
foster greater public transparency and accountability.
Many of the tools covered in this section are public complaint
mechanisms, implemented by external, independent institutions that
handle complaints by the public and help citizens to protect and defend
their rights. Whilst some, such as Ombudsman and Public Litigation are
formal institutions that function under the auspices of government,
others such as Citizen Advisors and Citizen Oversight Committees are
civil society driven and voluntary.
Some of the tools in this section are designed to improve
transparency and accoutability in a specific sector or activity like
for example, Integrity Pacts that are designed to tackle corruption in
public procurement and contracting. Others are not sector-specific and
can be used to enhance citizen information and oversight across various
sectors and in relation to public services, budgets, expenditures,
decision-making processes and/or the general performance or behaviour
of public actors or institutions.
Curbing corruption and thereby checking spillage and abuse of
public money is perhaps the most direct benefit of public oversight. A
unique advantage of public oversight is that it enhances transparency
and accountability of not only the public sector but also the private
sector. By improving the credibility and performance of public
institutions, oversight mechanisms contribute to increased public faith
in democratic governance. Public oversight also provides space for
civil society participation in governance processes thus increasing
cooperation and synergy between the state and civil society. In
specific geo-political contexts, independent public oversight helps
maintain a high level of observance of and adherence to human rights
and fundamental freedoms.
Effective public oversight is
dependent on some degree of freedom of information in order to access
relevant government data and documents and freedom of expression in
order to publicly disseminate findings and concerns. It is important
that public oversight mechanisms are accessible, independent and enjoy
the confidence of the general public. Therefore, the integrity and
public credibity of non state actors involved in oversight mechanisms
is a crucial prerequisite. Oversight mechanisms are most effective when
findings are made public and there are provisions for these to feed
into processes of official public service evaluation and reform. I t is
also essential that ordinary citizens and “whistleblowers” are
protected from retribution .
Corruption Fighters' Tool Kit, by Transparency International
A compendium of practical civil society
anti-corruption experiences implemented by Transparency International
and other civil society organisations from around the world.
FAQs: Corruption and possible cures: Government oversight and control bodies, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Norway.
This document outlines the role of various government oversight and control bodies.
”Models of Public Oversight of Government and Industry”:Richard Steiner
In this chapter, Richard Steiner provides an overview of different models of public oversight of government
Public Oversight of the Security Sector: A Handbook for Civil
Society Organizations. UNDP, Bratisalava. Edited by Cole E., Eppert K.,
Kinzelbach K. (2008)
This UNDP handbook provides guidance on how CSOs
can plan, structure and implement activities to support public
oversight of the security sector. Areas of focus include monitoring,
budget analysis, legal assistance, legal reform and work with the media
and others to improve access to information on security issues.
Project on Government Oversight (Pogo), USA
Pogo is an independent non-profit organization
based in the United States of America that investigates and exposes
corruption and other misconduct to achieve a more honest, open, and
accountable federal government.
Oil Revenue – Under Public Oversight, Kazhakstan
Kazakhstan Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition,
“Oil Revenue – Under Public Oversight!” is part of a World Bank
initiative called, ”The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative”
( EITI) which supports improved governance in resource-rich countries
through the verification and full publication of company payments and
government revenues from oil, gas, and mining.The essence of this
initiative is to provide technical and financial assistance to the
countries that are committed to ensure transparency of all the
processes related to generating and managing extractive industry
revenues (from granting subsoil use permissions to investing extractive