Policy Note, October 2016
Social Accountability In Public Procurement: How Citizen Engagement Can Make A Difference
Contributor: Mirza M Hassan, Syeda Salina Aziz, Nadir Shah
Social Accountability Page 1

Social accountability refers to citizens’ direct involvementin monitoring overall performances of bureaucratic agencies or representative institutions (Hassan, 2008) and is a mechanism to hold government officials accountable for ensuring proper utilization of taxpayers’ money. Social accountability is increasingly being promoted by governments and development agencies as it yields positive outcomes such as more responsive local government, exposure of government failures and corruption, empowerment of marginalized groups, and ensuring that the national and local governments respond to concerns of the poor (Camargo & Jacobs, 2013), though the appropriate means, through which the mechanism can be effectively implemented, is yet to be clearly understood. As nature (quality or extent) of implementation of development projects vary, contingent on local beneficiaries/stakeholders’ interest/incentive,therefore, design of social accountability mechanisms should also be tailored to the specific needs of each localities. In Bangladesh various social accountability mechanisms are being used in different projects in an experimental manner though at least in one important case it has been adopted as a standard policy and implemented on a national scale (LGSP). One very recent initiative in this regard is the incorporation of social accountability mechanism in public procurement, which is being piloted under the Procurement Reform Project (PPRP)-II . This policy note reflects on the design and experiences of this piloting initiative specifically in public construction works and tries to draw interim lessons for development of strategies so that replication of similar project can be done on a wider scale.