scaling accountability cover

Scaling Accountability Through Vertically Integrated Civil Society Policy Monitoring and Advocacy

Date: December 2016
Authors: Jonathan Fox
Publication type: Working Paper
Published by: Making All Voices Count, Accountability Research Center

This working paper argues that the growing field of transparency, participation and accountability (TPA) needs a conceptual reboot, to address the limited traction gained so far on the path to accountability. To inform more strategic approaches and to identify the drivers of more sustainable institutional change, fresh analytical work is needed. This paper makes the case for one among several possible strategic approaches by distinguishing between “scaling up” and “taking scale into account”. This proposition grounds an explanation of the vertical integration strategy, which involves multi-level coordination by civil society organizations of policy monitoring and advocacy, grounded in broad pro-accountability constituencies.

Figure 1 Seeking synergy: multi-level independent policy monitoring and advocacy

Jonathan Fox Jonathan Fox is a professor in the School of International Service at American University. He studies the relationships between accountability, transparency and citizen participation. He directs the new AU Accountability Research Center, an action-research incubator. His most recent publications include articles in World Development and the IDS Bulletin, and reports published by Making All Voices Count, U4: Anti-Corruption Resource Center and the Transparency and Accountability Initiative. His books include Accountability Politics: Power and Voice in Rural Mexico (Oxford 2007) and Mexico’s Right-to-Know Reforms: Civil Society Perspectives (co-editor, Fundar/Wilson Center 2007). He was a founding member of the International Expert Panel of the Independent Reporting Mechanism of the Open Government Partnership and currently serves on the boards of directors of Fundar (Mexico) and the Bank Information Center (DC). For online publications, see