U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


Please provide an overview of research related to local government accountability mechanisms.


Recent experiences in decentralisation have seen an ever-growing need to incorporate accountability mechanisms into local governance structures to counter corruption and mismanagement. Differences in local contexts make the replication of distinct models difficult; therefore important considerations must be observed to guarantee local governments are effectively held to account. New developments in accountability mechanisms are now being developed to adapt to a variety of local contexts. Digital complaint mechanisms, legal counselling services, media based accountability platforms and participatory budgeting are some ways accountability mechanisms are being transformed to meet the particular needs of the specific contexts. This U4 Helpdesk Answer provides information about these mechanisms and summarises existing standards and best practices.

Main points

  • In response to the failure of decentralisation in many countries, civil society organisations, governments and international development organisations promoted accountability mechanisms to allow citizens to hold local governments responsible for their actions.
  • The academic literature has produced some evidence that local accountability mechanisms have a positive impact on governance.


  1. Overview of local government integrity
  2. Types of local government accountability mechanisms
  3. References


The U4 Helpdesk has produced several query responses related to general accountability mechanisms. This query response will expand on those previous answers by focusing on digital and ICT-based complaint mechanisms, media-based accountability mechanisms, legal counselling, empowerment services and participatory budgeting.


Iñaki Albisu Ardigó


Roberto Martinez B. Kukutschka, Transparency International, and David Jackson,U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre




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