On this page you will find a variety of tools that can be used to design your own activities to monitor service delivery in the public sector. The diagrams offer you a step by step guide to the activities.

Participatory Budgeting

Participatory Budgeting is a process through which citizens participate directly in the different phases of budget formulation, decision making, and monitoring of budget execution. Public budgeting increases public expenditure transparency and budget targeting. It also promotes civic engagement and social learning.

Independent budget analysis

Independent budget analysis demystifies the often highly technical language of official budgets and opens up to public scrutiny the budgetary process. budget analysis is closely linked with the process of budget formulation, as it is aimed at generating debate on the national budget and at influencing the budget that is ultimately app roved.  Typically, this work focuses on one or more of the following issues: improving information sharing and public understanding of the budget; increasing pro-poor allocations; initiating debates on sector specific implications of budget allocations; influencing revenue policies and tracking revenues and expenditures.


Social contracts

The social contract or local agenda is an agreement that is put into writing between the people (this may be at local or national level) and people who are in or who hope to be in government positions in the future. The social contract states clearly what the public official has agreed to in terms of service delivery, mandated responsibilities and public obligations. The social contract is a means of securing a public, signed agreement so that the public can hold duty bearers to account. Often it is a tool used before an election process whereby citizens ask candidates for election to commit in writing publically to the social contract. Those who do not sign the contract are therefore less likely to secure votes locally; and those who do sign can then be held to account for what they have signed.
The social contract process also encourages active citizenship, since it requires citizens to identify the key issues they wish to hold their public officials to. The process encourages voters to choose leaders for their clear commitments and performance, not for the small gifts or clever speeches they make. In the Philippines, CSOs have used social contracts in conjunction with innovative modes of citizen engagement, emphasising the participation of a critical mass that can create social pressure. In Peru, child stunting fell by a third between 2006 and 2011 following a push for presidential candidates before the 2006 election to sign a social contract knows as ‘5 by 5 by 5’ in which they committed to reducing stunting in children under 5 by 5 per cent in 5 years and to lessen inequities between urban and rural areas. The approach can also be used beyond elections since the social contract can be monitored on an ongoing basis.


Citizens’ Charters

A Citizens’ Charter (sometimes called a Clients Charter or a Patient’s Charter) is a document that states the commitment of an organisation or entity towards specific standards, quality and time frames of service delivery. The Citizen’s Charter enables the service recipients to know their rights to a service with clear conditions – and makes the service providers aware of their duties to attend to the problems of the citizens within a reasonable time-frame.  Thus, the dissemination of information about the Charter’s contents is key to its success since this is what raises awareness on rights and deepens the service deliver’s sense of responsibility & accountability.
A Citizen’s Charter usually consists of the following elements:

  • Details of the specific services offered by the department, the quality standards and conditions of the service
  • Standard charges for the services, and how those payments should be made
  • Location and hours of operation of offices connected with the delivery of services
  • The names and contact details of the officers responsible for delivery of the services
  • The time required for the delivery of each service
  • The authority to whom complaints can be made if the services offered are delayed or denied
  • A ‘compensation clause’ where the standard of service is not met

Citizen Report Card

The Citizen Report Card (CRC) is a survey instrument that is filled in by citizens using numbers to show how satisfied they are with public services such as health centres, schools, or utilities. Using the information they receive from a citizen report card, CSOs, governments and service providers can better understand how citizens experience the services they are providing. The feedback is then analyzed and the data is used to start a dialogue between communities, CSOs and local government with service providers on how to improve services. The process is more powerful if it is accompanied by media coverage and civil society advocacy.

Community Score Card

The Community Score Card is a participatory monitoring tool at community level. It allows community members to assess the performance of service providers, and to provide this feedback directly to the service providers to demand improved service delivery. Compared to the Citizen Report Card, the Community Score Card gives immediate feedback from the community rather than from individual citizens, in this way it is a good way to prepare for joint decision making. In the implementation process it can also be used to inform community members about available services and their entitlements.

Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS)

Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys (PETS) is a survey to get information on the flow of public money for the provision of public goods, to identify if the money actually does reach the service providers (clinics, schools etc.) and if funds are used as intended. The objective of PETS is to improve the efficiency of public expenditures and quality of services. Expenditure tracking can be undertaken at the local, district or sub-national level. In contrast to Audits, PETS do not try to find missing resources or identify the persons responsible – the focus is instead on identifying whether or not there is an overall problem with the flow of money.  This information can then be used to persuade government to investigate further the issue if a problem is identified.

How to develop and use PETS?

Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys (PETS) are increasingly used to understand the flows of money from the national through to the provincial and district level.  At district level it shows how money passes from local government to service delivery agents such as the police or health posts. It is often implemented alongside a Citizens Report Card or a Community Score Card which will assess the quality of the service provided. The PETS traces the flow of resources through the different bureaucratic layers, measuring how much of the originally allocated resources reach each level and how long they take to get there. The surveys therefore assess the leakage of public funds and can help to assess the efficiency of public spending and the quality and quantity of services. It also helps to analyse the causes underlying problems, so that informed policies can be developed.

Social audits

Social audits are a process that collects information on the resources of an organization. The information is analyzed and shared publicly in a participatory fashion. Although the term “Audit” is used, social auditing does not only look at costs and finance – the central concern of a social audit is how well resources are used to achieve social objectives. Social audits can be used to assess the work of many government departments over a number of years in several districts; or they can be used to manage a particular project in one village at a given time. Most social audits will involve the following:  producing information that is evidence-based, accurate and impartial that can be valuable to identify corruption or incompetence; creating awareness among beneficiaries and providers of local services;  improving citizens’ access to information on government; permitting stakeholders to influence the behavior of the government; and  monitoring progress and help to prevent fraud by deterrence.
A social audit checks how programmes and services are being carried out in order to improve them and focus them more to social, environmental, and community priorities. It involves an evaluation of public records and user feedback (using tools such as Citizen Report Cards and Community Score Cards) so that users can understand and assess the programme or service and propose improvements. Social audit practices depend on the program or service under review and so can use various techniques and methodologies.

Child Rights Social Audit Tool

This tool takes the overall approach to undertaking social audits and focusing it in on the issue of child rights so that you can examine government policy and practice to understand the extent to which children’s rights have been taken into consideration across all areas of policy and practice. Areas it looks at include: Policy Templates for Child Poverty and Disparities; Integrating a Child Focus into Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA); Mainstreaming Child Rights in Poverty Reduction Strategies & National Development Plans; Diagnosing Child Friendly Social Protection; Child Friendly Schools Quality Assessment Criteria: Manual; Child Protection System Mapping and Assessment Toolkit; and so on.

Gender Social Audit Tool

This tool takes the overall approach to undertaking social audits and enables you to analyse a particular programme or project to understand its impact on gender. For example, it looks at: the extent to which a plan or a policy has incorporated gender issues as a focus; the degree to which these policies and plans then translate into measurable action on gender issues (including the scope and quality of indicators that measure progress in specific gender priorities); and an assessment of the gender impact of plans and policies, including through participatory means.

In addition to information on Zambian legislation, SAY provides a platform for CSOs to share their social accountability tools, research reports, and other materials. Through this platform CSOs have the chance to see what their counterparts are doing to hold duty-bearers to account and to exchanges ideas, experiences and success stories through different discussion forums. Ensuring that CSOs and citizens have access to tools to help hold duty-bearers accountable can lead to improved governance and better public services. By supporting CSOs to network virtually, update one another and secure feedback on their tools and reports will facilitate coalition-building and stronger quality CSO work.

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