Social accountability is very crucial to organizations as well as NGOS. It is defined as an approach toward building accountability that relies on civic engagement, that is, in which it is ordinary citizens and/or civil society organizations that participate directly or indirectly in exacting accountability.
In a public sector perspective, social accountability pertains to a wide range of actions and mechanisms that citizens, communities, independent media and civil society organizations can use to hold public officials and public servants accountable. The other things come under this are participatory planning, participatory development,public expenditure tracking, monitoring of public service delivery, investigative journalism, public commissions and citizen advisory boards. These citizen-driven accountability measures harmonize and strengthen conventional mechanisms of accountability like political checks and balances, accounting and auditing systems, administrative rules and legal procedures. From different reports or evidence, it is also revealed that social accountability mechanisms can help in improving governance, enhancing development effectiveness through better service delivery, and empowerment. While the range of social accountability mechanisms is broad and varied, important factors include obtaining, analyzing and disseminating information, mobilizing public support, and advocating and negotiating change. Crucial factors of success include: access to and effective use of information, civil society and state capacities and synergy between the two. For an effective social accountability mechanisms aimed for the long run, it needs to be institutionalized and linked to existing governance structures and service delivery systems. Mechanisms of social accountability can be started and supported by the state, citizens or both, but very often they are demand-driven and operate from the bottom-up. These also include, participatory public policy-making, participatory budgeting, public expenditure tracking, citizen monitoring and evaluation of public service delivery. They also include efforts to enhance citizen knowledge and use of conventional mechanisms of accountability and efforts to improve the effectiveness of “internal” accountability mechanisms, for example, through citizen involvement in public commissions and hearings, citizen advisory boards and oversight committees.Social accountability mechanisms also help NGOs that have been struggling with the idea of evolving such tools and mechanisms which would support them further to increase and also demonstrate their accountability towards various actors/stakeholders. Although there is a broad consensus regarding the requirement and significance of greater accountability mechanisms, there is little agreement upon the type of mechanism which will be suitably relevant for the voluntary sector; a mechanism that would guarantee transparency and at the same time take care of the heterogeneity of the voluntary sector. And a social accountability mechanism is such a tool that can fulfil these needs perfectly.
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