Strengthening the capacity of community groups and associations in southeast Nigeria to promote public accountability, participate in the political process and protect their democratic rights.

Written by Emeka Ononamadu Executive Director. Posted in Resources

INTRODUCTION

This performance assessment project is intended to provide operational guide for running community-based performance and project monitoring actions along with the community Democracy Clinics being implemented in three states of the southeast. This strategy summaries the context, objectives, and sequencing of tasks for community-based leaders performance monitoring.  It also details the process of bottom up accountability and updating of communities at minimal or no cost. 

The specific mechanism that is elaborated in this strategy is the elected representatives performance Scorecard (ERPSC) which is a hybrid of the different techniques of social auditing, participatory rural appraisal (PRA) /participatory poverty assessment (PPA) tools and citizen report cards (CRC). This methodology, which is an adaptation of existing tools, is relatively new, and being applied for the first time in Nigeria, in this form. The need for tool originated through the challenges observed by CCIDESOR in the democracy clinic project conducted in 2011 that communities are facing. During the DCs, communities in Abia, Imo and Anambra accepted to use scorecard process as a means to put the ‘Rights-Based Approach to Development’ in action and reduce the level of corruption in our democracy. This process started to evolve through oral appreciation of basic components of citizens’ performance audit. 

The learning curves from these pilot applications of the elected representative’s performance scorecard process are still at a nascent stage. Consequently, the scope of this handbook is only to provide operational guidance sufficient to bring the pilot activities to scale and to serve as a stimulant for the production of a similar manual for wider application.  This homegrown methodology would be based on the field learning and examples from the pilot experience from democracy clinic and other accountability projects.  This approached should therefore be treated as a “CCIDESORS living approach” that will be updated and improved upon with growing experience and learning from the field. 

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

Grassroots poverty in Nigeria and the southeast region is not different from poverty elsewhere in Nigeria and the world.  It is a multi-dimensional phenomenon encompassing the inability to satisfy the basic human needs which aggravates the challenges facing the poor which are already varied and complex in nature. Its complexities are the characteristics of manmade challenges. In the context of Integrated Development and social rights, the characteristics includes : high unemployment and low income, lack of self-worth, limited livelihood opportunities, limited human capital development, insecurity,  poor health facilities and piece-meal approach to community development.

Since the early 1999, when democracy returned from the grip of military despots, the Government of Nigeria and various states have implemented many anti-poverty and anti-corruption programs.  However, these programs have only been partially successful. The key reasons cited for failure are: (i) lack of people’s participation (ii) poor governance and (iii) inability of elected representatives to implement programs that will benefit their electorates. As democracy grows older, the possibility of good governance keeps diminishing due to the lack of appropriate of accountability strategy available to already weakened citizens. A strategy that will be proactive, cost effective, action oriented and capable of rewarding honest elected representatives with more political capital. This strategy is intended to bring the “voice and presence” of the people in all the activities of elected representatives and prepare them well with information which will help them reach good decisions in future elections.     

THE ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES PERFORMANCE SCORECARD METHODOLOGY

The elected representative’s performance score card is a hybrid of Community Score Card (CSC) and an instrument to exact social and public accountability 2and responsiveness from elected representatives and key public service providers. The output will be validated by the citizens forum for accountability. By including citizen’s forum for accountability, a platform is provided to allow for immediate feedback and further empowerment by creating a link between elected officers and their constituents.

The ERP-SC process uses the “community” as its unit of analysis, and is focused on monitoring at the local/facility level. It can therefore facilitate the monitoring and performance evaluation of elected officers and their programs, policies, laws,  projects and even government administrative units (like fourth tier arm of Imo state government) by the community themselves. Since it is a grassroots process, it is also more likely to be of use in a rural area.

A critical feature of the ERP -SC process is the almost immediate feedback mechanism built in its execution. As with any instrument of social and public accountability, an effective ERP-SC undertaking requires a skilled combination of four things: i) understanding of the socio-political context of governance and the structure of public finance at a decentralized level, ii) average competence of local facilitators to manage process, iii) a strong publicity campaign to ensure maximum participation from the community and elected representatives, and iv) steps aimed at institutionalizing the practice for civic actions. 

The Components of the Elected Representatives Score Carding Process

The process is not long-drawn and can even be carried out in one public meeting, but preliminary investigation is important for the local facilitator. The exercise which is going to be a quarterly ritual is not just meant to produce a performance scorecard, but to use the documented perceptions and feedback of a community bring about an improvement in elected representatives service delivery, reduce corruption and improve local accountability and good governance.

Due to this reason, the application of a comprehensive Elected Representatives Score carding process, does not stop at just the creation of this score card that summarizes citizen’s perceptions, It involves five simple stages.

(i)            Desk research on campaign promises, statutory duties and community expectations

A brief inquiry is conducted to know what the elected representatives promised their respective communities or constituencies before and after winning the position, what is their elected position’s statutory roles are, What extra role does the position of the elected representative bestows on him. The information can be extracted from posters, manifestoes, speeches, handbills and radio/TV/newspapers adverts or jingles. This process will include listing of any elected officer in Nigeria who obtained vote from the community and obtaining their office or residential address, telephone and email address.   

(ii)          The Elected Representatives performance self-assessment. A form or letter is written to the elected representatives to avail the community with his achievements during a given period. This conducted through the constituency or political offices of the elected representatives. The major contact is through the employees of the elected officer. All letters sent should be acknowledged. Where the officer is evasive, a local courier firm is used for proper documentation. This should be done at least three weeks before the next step. Follow up is made if there is no response a week before the community assessment and validation meeting. Where no information is available, the facilitator should send the list of his/her observations to the elected officer for comparison. The local political party ward may be approached if the elected representative does not have a functional office or contact.

(iii)          Community Assessment meeting and Validation – this is a simple comparison of the self-representatives self-assessment and community assessment with the view of confirming the reality. This is the key output that is generated through community engagement .Where the elected representative or his employs indicates interest to participate, he/she should be allowed. Because of the level of education among community members, the list of expectations, campaign promises and statutory duties should be compared with the output or development the community has attracted through the elected officer. Serious efforts should be made to obtain the cost of capital projects. The only elected officer who can be evaluated at the local level without prior request is the President who will be assessed by the presence of federal capital projects as well as the impact of federal policies on the community. These meetings can be in form of FGDs, Agenda setting meetings, key informants interview and Score carding.

Often the mere process of letting communities know their entitlements or what official budgets for different projects in their area are  is significantly empowering because, most of the time, common people, especially the poor, have no access to such information.

(iv)         Performance scorecard analysis

The information obtained from stage 1 -3 is analyzed and the performance of the elected representative determined and issues leading to success or failure speculated and noted. The criteria used for judging performance are generated by the community themselves and often include various performance parameters like availability, access, transparency, reliability, quality and satisfaction. An elected officer can perform well in either all aspects of the assessment, some or no aspect. This will be determined by the observation of the people. One key area of assessment is the protection of the basic rights of the people being represented, level of communication with the constituents and development projects.

(v)          Feedback

At the end of the exercise, all stakeholders are notified on the outcome of the performance scorecard and time is allowed for issues to be raised by any stakeholder. This will lead to final publication of the performance scorecard. The exercise is designed in such a way that the previous score card becomes a feedback and becomes the basis of comparison improvement or otherwise.

 

OBJECTIVES AND OUTCOMES SOUGHT

If the elected representatives performance score card mechanisms outlined here are implemented in all the southeast states, it can lead to tremendous changes in terms of empowerment, democratic decentralization, poverty and corruption reduction, better communication and sustainable development.  Specifically, we envisage that this process that is described here will lead to five key  outcomes:

(i)          Improved communication – such as regular feedback to communities by elected officer. Regular touch and frequent discussion between the elected representatives. This can bring about an improved usage of the constituency offices which are not currently fully utilized.  This creates a better understanding between elected representatives and the electorate. This bridges the gap between elected representatives and the electorates.

(ii)        Better development agenda setting – improved communication between elected representatives and those they are representing bring about better analyzed projects and programs which will be successful and eventually benefiting the people. A better performance assessment benchmark is created. It also improved the community development plan and reduces the conflicts arising from disagreement between elected representatives and the people. A better understanding of the community and the representatives is appreciated.

(iii) Better representation – for example, protection of human rights, improved facilities, reduction in poverty trend, changes in the resource allocation and management, new information/transparency laws, more transparent public record keeping, are developed.

(iv) Empowerment Outcomes – through better information obtained among the community, there will be deeper understanding of public issues and more voice/influence will be generated. This bottom up approach will ensure good governance.

(vi)       Capacity Building Outcomes – better financial and project management knowledge and performance monitoring skill of communities, service providers, and district assemblies.

 

(vii)       Reduction of poverty and post-election good governance. If people learn to hold elected officers accountable and attract his/her attention to the opinion of those they are representing, the quality of representation can improve and the level of corruption will go down.

About CCISEDOR:

Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) is a registered non-profit, non-governmental, non-partisan, non-ethnic and non–religious organization established to facilitate the attainment of social freedom, Human Rights, good governance and sustainable grassroots development in Nigeria. It is established to promote development integration.  Our core programming areas are governance and democracy reforms, economic literacy for poverty eradication, quality basic education advocacy, fundamental freedoms and Human Rights.    We seek a balanced and integrated economic and social development approach by government that guarantees, especially the marginalized and vulnerable groups, their basic human needs for improved standard of living and security. We are deeply acquainted with the severity of Nigeria’s development and democracy challenges. We strongly believe in development integration through citizen centered approach that is participatory and sustainable. We target hard to reach communities and vulnerable groups.

Vision:

A free and fair society where citizens have unhindered access to basic human needs and safe environment.

Mission statement:

Our mission is to empower citizens and government to facilitate better living conditions, social progress and fundamental freedoms.

 

The values we share with communities:

·         Honesty and clarity of purpose.

·         Respect, protect and work with the poor, marginalized and vulnerable

·         Appreciate  the capacity of others

·         Innovation and spreading new knowledge

·         Empowering partnership

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ERP - SC  001

Elected Representatives Performance Score Card and Good governance agenda.

 

 

Name of Elected Representative:

 

Position of Elected representative:

 

Name of Ward of elected representative

 

 Name of  LGA of elected representative

 Name of  State of elected representative

 

Residence and operational base of elected representative.

 Name of Senatorial Zone of elected representative

 

 

 

Capital Projects to the credit of elected representative

 

Location of project and commencement date

 

Source of funding and project cost

Year of commencement and Stage of project

Score

 

1= very poor, 2 poor, 3 fair, 4 good 5 very good. This is based on the quality of work and expected impact on the community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

No

don’t know

 

Was the community consulted or met before the project?

 

 

 

 

Does the project fall under community top priority needs?

 

 

 

 

Will the project impact on the community?

 

 

 

 

Is there community contribution (cash or in kind) to the project?

 

 

 

 

Is the community involved in the implementation?

 

 

 

 

General Remark:

 

Date of interview:

Place of interview:

 

Signature:

Period covered:

 

 

 

ERP - SC - 002

Elected Representatives Performance Score Card and Good governance agenda

 

 

Name of Elected Representative:

 

Position of Elected representative:

 

Name of Ward of elected representative

 Name of  LGA of elected representative

 Name of  State of elected representative

Operational base of the representative/residence

 Name of Senatorial Zone of elected representative

 

 

 

Laws, Policies and programs

 

Year of commencement

 

Source of funding and cost

Stage of policy/law.

(initiation, implementation or consolidation)

Score

 

1= very poor, 2 poor, 3 fair, 4 good 5 very good. This is based on the quality of work and expected impact on the community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

No

Don’t Know

 

Was the community consulted, informed or involved?

 

 

 

 

Does the community report human rights abuses to their elected officer?

 

 

 

 

Does the policy, law and program fall under community top priority needs?

 

 

 

 

Will the policy, law, or program impact on the community?

 

 

 

 

Did the community contribute any resources toward the program or policy?

 

 

 

 

Is the community involved in the implementation?

 

 

 

 

General Remark:

 

 

 

 

 

Date of interview:

Place of interview:

 

Signature:

Period covered:

 

                       

 

 

ERP - SC  - 003

Elected Representatives Performance Score Card and Good governance agenda.

 

Name of Elected Representative:

Position of Elected representative:

Name of Ward of elected representative

 

 Name of  LGA of elected representative

 Name of  State of elected representative

Operational base of the elected representative

 Name of Senatorial Zone of elected representative

 

 

Human Rights Protection and intervention

Period or date of action

Source of funding and cost

outcome

Score

1= very poor, 2 poor, 3 fair, 4 good 5 very good. This is based on the quality of work and expected impact on the community.

 

 

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment

How did the issue get to the knowledge of the representative?

 

How long did it take before his/her intervention?

 

Will the policy, law, or program have impact on the community?

 

Did the group or individual contribute any resources?

 

General Remark:

 

 

 

 

 

Date of interview:

Place of interview:

 

Signature:

Period covered:

 

 

ERP - SC - 004

Elected Representatives Performance Score Card and Good governance agenda

 

Name of Elected Representative:

Position of Elected representative:

Name of Ward of elected representative

 

 Name of  LGA of elected representative

 

 Name of  State of elected representative

 

Operational base of elected representative

 

 

 Name of Senatorial Zone of elected representative

 

 

Other statutory functions of the elected representative

Period of action

Source of funding and cost

outcome

Score

1= very poor, 2 poor, 3 fair, 4 good 5 very good. This is based on the quality of work and expected impact on the community.

 

 

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

No

Don’t know

Is the community updated regularly on these functions?

 

 

 

Is the opinion of the community sought?

 

 

 

General Remark:                                                    

 

 

 

 

 

Date of interview:

Place of interview:

 

 

Signature:

Period covered:

 

 

                           

 

 

 

 

ERP - SC - 005

Elected Representatives Performance Score Card and Good governance agenda.

 

Name of Elected Representative:

Position of Elected representative

Name of Ward of elected representative

 

 Name of  LGA of elected representative

 

 Name of  State of elected representative

 

Office location of the elected representative

 

 Name of Senatorial Zone of elected representative

 

 

Other Pre-election and post-election  Promises and relationship

Period of action

Source of funding and cost

project

Score

1= very poor, 2 poor, 3 fair, 4 good 5 very good. This is based on the quality of work and expected impact on the community.

 

 

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 location

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level of interaction between community and representative?

 

 

 

 

 

Access to representative?

 

 

 

 

 

Effectiveness of constituency offices?

 

 

 

 

 

Capacity to keep communities informed?

 

 

 

 

 

General Remark:

Date of interview:

Place of interview

Signature:

Period covered:

 

 

 

 

 

 

ERP - SC  - 007

Elected Representatives Performance Score Card and Good governance agenda

 

Name of Elected Representative:

 

Position of Elected representative:

 

Name of Ward of elected representative

 

 Name of  LGA of elected representative

 

 Name of  State of elected representative

 

Operational base of the elected representative

 

 

 Name of Senatorial Zone of elected representative

 

 

 

General Remark and FGD outcome:

 

Date of interview:

Place of interview:

 

Signature:

Period covered:

 

 

                     

 

ERP - SC  - 006

Elected Representatives Performance Score Card and Good governance agenda.

 

Name of Elected Representative:

Position of Elected representative:

Name of Ward of elected representative

 

 Name of  LGA of elected representative

 Name of  State of elected representative

Residence and operational base of elected representative.

 Name of Senatorial Zone

of elected representative

 

 

Human Capital Development

 

project description and commencement date

 

Source of funding and project cost

Year of commencement and Stage of project

Score

1= very poor, 2 poor, 3 fair, 4 good 5 very good. This is based on the quality of work and expected impact on the community.

 

 

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

No

don’t know

Was the community consulted or met before the project?

 

 

 

Does the project fall under community top priority needs?

 

 

 

Will the project impact on the community economy and income generation?

 

 

 

Is there community contribution (cash or in kind) to the project?

 

 

 

Is the community involved in the implementation?

 

 

 

General Remark:

Date of interview:

Place of interview:

 

Signature:

Period covered:

 

 

                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES SELF ASSESSMENT FORM

 

ERSAF - 001

Elected Representatives Achievement  Score Card

 

Name of Elected Representative

 

 

Position of Elected representative

 

 

Please list below projects, actions developments that are directly or indirectly your achievement within six months

Category

Period of action

Source of funding and cost

Project location

State of action:(initiation, implementation, consolidation)

Capital projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laws, Policies and programs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Human Capital Development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Human Rights Protection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other statutory duties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pre and post-election promises

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Remark:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date of interview:

Place of interview:

 

Signature:

Period covered:

 

 

                 

 

 

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