Does promoting citizen engagement in governance of public services improve development outcomes?

Start Date: 01 November 2018 End Date: 01 November 2018

There is a lot of emphasis by donors on improving governance in public service delivery, in order to improve development effectiveness. Bottom-up approaches aim to engage citizens in participation, inclusion, transparency and accountability in the design and delivery of public services and institutions. Evidence from prominent single studies implemented in particular contexts has suggested that the bottom-up approaches to involve citizens in governance of public services are not effective strategies. However, how generalizable is this finding, and what are the mechanisms through which citizen engagement can be effective?

An upcoming mixed-method systematic review focuses on interventions that promote citizen engagement in public service governance, through participatory and inclusive planning, community based monitoring, and provision of information about rights and performance of public services. The authors assessed evidence from 50 impact evaluations and 39 additional qualitative documents on governance programmes in L&MICs. Hugh Waddington, the lead author of the review, presented the key findings and implications for policy and programmes. Rahul Ahluwalia, associate director, Governance, Central Square Foundation was the main discussant. 

About the speaker

Hugh Waddington is a senior evaluation specialist at 3ie based in London. He is also the elected co-chair of the Campbell Collaboration International Development Coordinating Group for systematic reviews. He has over 15 years of experience in international development research and policy work, including working for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning of the Government of Rwanda, the World Bank's Operations Evaluation Department, the UK National Audit Office, Save the Children UK, the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Poverty Research Unit at Sussex.