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.

Query

What is the international experience with developing indicators of corruption at local governance level? Please provide examples of corruption measurement tools, particularly tools that can be used by non-experts at sub-national and local levels.

Purpose

We are trying to work out indicators of corruption at local governance levels in support of the District Devel-opment Program in Afghanistan. What we need to develop is a set of observable indicators that non-experts (members of a Provincial Reconstruction Team) can use to detect corruption within new government offices as they are established as part of this program. The ultimate objective is to develop a tool to monitor this program on a regular basis to detect corruption “seeping in” as quickly as possible to allow remedial action.

Content

1. Corruption risks factors at the sub-national level
2. Examples of corruption measurement tools at sub-national level
3. Process of developing indicators of local governance
4. References

Summary

Decentralisation has been promoted in recent years as an opportunity to make the public sector more respon-sive and accountable to citizens by bringing govern-ment activities closer to the people. However, in coun-tries such as Afghanistan, the expected benefits of decentralisation can be undermined by specific corruption challenges emerging at the local level, including the risk of elite capture and the development of corrupt networks among public officials, citizens and interest groups.

Against such a background, there is a need to monitor the prevailing conditions in local institutions on a regular basis as part of a corruption risk mitigation strategy. A number of measurement tools have been developed in recent years for measuring local governance and cor-ruption that can inspire the design of relevant indicators for monitoring local governance in Afghanistan. These tools typically focus on issues of representation, partici-pation, accountability, transparency, effectiveness, fairness and equity.

The design and implementation of local assessment tools faces major challenges of a political, methodological and operational nature. Experience shows that to address most of these challenges, the most successful methodologies are those that promote transparency and stakeholder participation at all stages of the proc-ess.

Authors

Marie Chêne, Transparency International, mchene@transparency.org

Date

16/04/2010

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