Our approach, termed as Community Integrity Building (CIB), is a successful and cost-effective way to improve the quality of public programmes, development projects and services (hereafter referred to as projects), thereby improving the lives of thousands of people.
For DevelopmentCheck to be effective and close the loop on problems identified by local communities it needs to be supported by a tried and tested method of social accountability.
Integrity Action’s Community Integrity Building approach, which is a successful and cost-effective way to improve the quality of public services and infrastructure, achieves some of the highest Fix-Rates in our sector.
Community Integrity Building involves learning about the community’s needs and their service delivery problems. It then supports citizens, contractors and governments to resolve service delivery problems through constructive engagement, on-going monitoring of priority projects, and implementation of collaborative, practical solutions, thereby improving the lives of thousands of people.
Community Integrity Building (CIB) is a five-step cycle:
Understanding the context and the stakeholders is the first step in Community Integrity Building. The main purpose of stakeholder analysis is to understand and address local communities’ needs, concerns and capacities. Since Community Monitoring is needs based and led by volunteers, it is also essential to have the formal support of the community to engage in this process. Without it, the CIB process cannot really take off.
The local communities themselves should, if possible, select priority development projects that matter most to them. Participatory community meetings could be used to help identify and select priority projects to be monitored by the community.
The Community Integrity Building process must be learned, including how to gather the evidence, access information, and how to engage with stakeholders to resolve problems. The best learning environment involves multiple stakeholders, including government officials, community members and contractors.
Once community monitors have been trained, projects to monitors have been selected and Joint Working Groups have been established, then data gathering begins. Monitors gather data on three key areas: Access to information, Community Engagement, and Project Effectiveness.
Once evidence is gathered, community monitors share their findings with key stakeholders in order to address any issues they have found and also to share good practices they have seen. If problems with projects or services have been identified they propose solutions or “fixes” to these problems.
Closing the loop occurs when feedback is integrated into a process and triggers an informed, appropriate response to resolve an identified problem. In this phase, stakeholders implement the solutions or recommendations proposed through constructive engagement. Closing the loop also involves reporting problems that do not get fixed initially, and that may need to be brought to the attention of higher authorities.
Many public services and projects are not well implemented. These failures may be caused by corruption, fraud, incompetence, or a lack of oversight. Whatever the cause, the real result is that communities do not benefit from the services and infrastructure that were planned for, budgeted and committed to. If we reduce this failure rate, it dramatically reduces waste in public resources and it would be the equivalent of channelling billions of additional funds into development around the world.
DevelopmentCheck combines a reporting and training tool that helps local citizens to engage directly with service providers and government to make sure the projects that are supposed to benefit them are delivered as they should be.
What makes DevelopmentCheck groundbreaking:
Reporting through DevelopmentCheck helps development projects and services and it provides a positive feedback loop on those service providers who are doing an excellent job, as well as local monitors and NGOs that are brilliant problem solvers.
DevelopmentCheck is an app for real-time citizen feedback on the transparency, participation and effectiveness of development projects. It also enables community monitors to report on their success-rate in implementing fixes to identified problems.
Integrity Action’s Community Integrity Building approach is a successful and cost-effective way to improve the quality of public services and infrastructure. In turn, this improves the lives of thousands of people. Community Integrity Building involves learning about the community’s needs and their service delivery problems. It then supports citizens, contractors and governments to resolve service delivery problems through constructive engagement, on-going monitoring of priority projects, and implementation of collaborative, practical solutions.
The Fix-rate is the rate at which problems are resolved to the satisfaction of the key stakeholders. A ‘fix’ needs to be defined and identified by people who have a stake in its outcome and it must also be supported by evidence that the issue has indeed been solved.
The Fix-rate is always measured as a percentage. It is calculated as the number of resolutions divided by the number of problems.
For example, if community monitors identify problems in ten projects and resolve six of them in agreement with all stakeholders, they have achieved a 60% Fix-rate. If they resolve only two problems, their Fix-rate is 20%.
Fix-rate are reported on DevelopmentCheck so that we can track how effectively our Community Integrity Building approach is resolving problems within any given location. An increasing or decreasing Fix-rate can highlight improvements (or reductions) and behavioural changes within the development projects we are monitoring. We find that as Fix-rate improve so does project effectiveness and trust between communities, government officials and service providers.
DevelopmentCheck is used to report on three key development indicators: access to information, community engagement and project effectiveness. Access to information makes it far easier to monitor projects effectively. Communities should be engaged and consulted in the projects that affect them. And projects must ultimately be effective.
Giving citizens the tools to work constructively with governments and service providers helps them to achieve better services. Moreover, it means that local citizens are empowered to check that policies are appropriate, that information can be trusted, and that the money goes where it should.
To ensure a project is delivered successfully and to the correct standard, it must be implemented in line with the commitments made in project plans and set out in the project contract. It is therefore vital that citizens have access to the necessary documentation and information because without it, it is far more difficult to measure and assess the success or failure of a project.
Citizen engagement is an integral part of most successful development projects and practices. It is important to ensure local ownership of any project and local involvement and consultation at both the project design and implementation stages. To ensure that a project is truly meeting a community’s needs and addressing their concerns and priorities, local people must be involved from the start. A problem within a project can only be said to be resolved if the main stakeholders, including the community for whom the project was intended, are satisfied with the resolution and ultimately with the project itself.
Project Effectiveness is a measure of how well a project has been designed and implemented. It takes into consideration whether the project has been delivered in line with project plans and budgets and whether it has resolved the problem which it sought to address.
A traffic light system is often used within management tools to show “at a glance” the status of a project. We use a traffic light system on DevelopmentCheck to clearly highlight whether a problem was found during monitoring and then whether or not that same problem was fixed.
The use of traffic lights helps with measuring progress and problem resolution over time, taking corrective action, and keeping stakeholders informed.