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Local government accountability mechanisms

Recent experiences in decentralisation have seen an ever-growing need to incorporate accountability mechanisms into local governance structures to counter corruption and mismanagement. Differences in local contexts make the replication of distinct models difficult; therefore important considerations must be observed to guarantee local governments are effectively held to account. New developments in accountability mechanisms are now being developed to adapt to a variety of local contexts. Digital complaint mechanisms, legal counselling services, media based accountability platforms and participatory budgeting are some ways accountability mechanisms are being transformed to meet the particular needs of the specific contexts. This U4 Helpdesk Answer provides information about these mechanisms and summarises existing standards and best practices.

31 July 2019
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Main points

  • In response to the failure of decentralisation in many countries, civil society organisations, governments and international development organisations promoted accountability mechanisms to allow citizens to hold local governments responsible for their actions.
  • The academic literature has produced some evidence that local accountability mechanisms have a positive impact on governance

Cite this publication

Ardigó, I.; (2019) Local government accountability mechanisms. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2019:9)

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Iñaki Albisu Ardigó


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


local government, accountability