Crucially, performance in service delivery depends not only on resources and the capacity of service providers but also on their relationships with users (i.e. citizens) and different levels of government – what demands providers face and how they are monitored and supported. There is rising interest in the potential of social accountability to shape these relationships and improve the delivery of public services.
The idea that services are distinct seems obvious, but often the implications for accountability are not clearly understood. This briefing note aims to provide some practical guidance on how different services can offer differing opportunities and challenges for improving service performance through increased accountability and, especially, citizen engagement.