The Politics of Complaint: A Review of the Literature on Grievance Redress Mechanisms in the Global South
Date: May 2023
Author(s): Naomi Hossain, Anu Joshi, and Suchi Pande
Publication type: Scholarly journal article
Published by: Policy Studies
Institutionalized complaint systems are notable features of improving public programmes and government practice.
This article reviews literature on formal grievance redress mechanisms in the global South to understand whether these mechanisms help the aggrieved to complain and seek redress for their grievances.
In this emerging literature, the institutional and definitional boundaries of formal grievance mechanisms are slippery. Systems that look like grievance systems may do little to enable complaints by those who seek to register them, and even less to enable them to achieve redress. There is limited evidence on how these systems work on the ground.
The study finds that without sufficient power to act on complaints, some formal grievance systems appear ornamental. Others have worked uncommonly well, but they have not always attracted political support to scale up.