Citizen-based monitoring (CBM) focuses on the experiences of citizens in relation to government performance, in order to improve public accountability and service delivery. The approach emphases the building of capacity, of both citizens and officials at the point where services are delivered to (i) monitor how citizens experience service delivery, (ii) analyse this feedback, (iii) take actions for improvements and (iv) communicate to all stakeholders.
A ‘Framework for Strengthening Citizen-Government Partnerships for Monitoring Frontline Service Delivery’ was approved by Cabinet in August 2013. The CBM Framework describes broadly what on-going citizen-based monitoring should look like. It also tasks DPME to design and test specific tools that departments could adapt and use in their performance monitoring and evaluation.
The experiences of citizens – the intended beneficiaries of government services – are a critical component of measuring the performance of government and for the delivery of appropriate and quality services. It is therefore necessary to support the uptake of systematic ways to bring the experiences of citizens into monitoring of services. CBM does not duplicate or replace existing public participation structures or processes, but rather adds to these, providing tools and methodologies to strengthen and broaden public participation.
The National Development Plan emphasizes the importance of fostering active citizens and building a capable and developmental state. Citizen-based monitoring supports this through the production of, and engagement around, evidence of government performance. Currently much of government monitoring sees information sent upwards to central national collection points. This information is then analyzed and presented to top level decision makers who adjust policy and programmes in an effort to influence outcomes on the ground. Citizen-based monitoring shifts the emphasis to focusing on building local level accountability through the co-production of monitoring information by citizens and frontline officials. It is not designed to replace, but rather complement, government’s existing monitoring systems and processes.