Social Auditing Clubs (SACs)
The Social Auditing Clubs (SACs) in Ghana started with the need to raise awareness of corruption and its effects. Over time, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) realised this was not enough and started the SACs to get citizens engaged by doing something about transparency and accountability at the local level. This SACs concept was first piloted in thirteen (13) districts and later extended to over 50 districts across the country.
Initiation of SACs:
GII worked with the National Commission on Civic Education and organized public education workshops. They sent invitations to different CSOs, groups and individuals representing major social groups such as women, youth, religious groups, retired prominent individuals and traditional leadership outlining some criteria for their participation. Participants in the workshops then elected executive members of the SACs (between 9 – 13 members for each club) to represent the interests of the district at large. GII also brings SACs together on a regular basis to foster exchange and learning.
Training of SACs:
GII trains members of the SACs on monitoring & evaluation and social accountability. These trainings focus on how to collect evidence such as images for instance and also on how to write good stories to demonstrate the impact of their work. They are trained to understand how to monitor infrastructural projects and service delivery at the local level. At the end of each training, each SAC develops an action plan and budget to implement auditing activities. In addition to monitoring & evaluation and social accountability training, other key topics treated at SACs training include the following:
- Manifestations of Corruption
- The Role of ALAC in Fighting Corruption
- Enhancing Citizen’s Participation through Social Auditing for Good Governance
- Principles of Community Engagement for Members of SACs
- The links between social auditing, improved service delivery and strengthening of anti-corruption measures at the local level
- Communication, Advocacy & Monitoring and Evaluation
- Preparing Action Plans, Budgets, Reports and Financial Retirement
The Auditing Process
The SACs focus on monitoring the implementation of projects and service delivery as per the district development plans. They focus thus on undertaking site visits to ensure projects are built as planned and track the quality of public services. They also focus on auditing the Auditor General's report about Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies. They track whether the local assemblies implement the recommendations of the Auditor General, at the district level. They engage in community sensitisations where they raise awareness of community members about anti-corruption laws, reporting corruption and engaging duty bearers.
Findings and follow-up
To keep the SACs accountable, they prepare reports on a quarterly or annual basis and share them with GII, the MMDA Management Team and other relevant stakeholders. During monitoring visits, they also organize community dialogues at the local level. With support from GII, the SACs have developed a good relationship with the local assemblies who help them in resolving identified issues. For example, in a particular district, the SACs found that a school charged students illegal fees and after reporting to the local assembly, the issue was resolved.
If issues are not resolved at the local level, they are brought to the sub-national and national levels, with the help of GII who sometimes speak directly to the appropriate Ministries, Departments and Agencies on unresolved issues. GII also empowers them to work directly with policymakers as in one case they petitioned MPs encouraging them to pass the Right to Information law.
The clubs have chalked many successes since their formation some of which have been outlined as follows:
- The Akatsi South SAC was able to stop the construction of a highly faulty 3-story building in the College of Education due to shoddy work by the contractor. On a visit to the site, the monitoring team confirmed that the blocks were crumbling even upon the slightest scratch with bare hands hence the need to halt the construction at the foundation level.
- There is wide stakeholder acceptance and recognition of the Clubs’ existence and work in all ten districts visited. Through the building of good rapport with the district assembly officials.
- One of the clubs, Dunkwa-on-Offin, secured free airtime on the local radio station morning show, a platform which they use to discuss pertinent local issues.
- The Savelugu SAC succeeded in advocating Water supply extension to Kpalyogu community, maintaining water tariffs in the face of national utility tariffs increment and engaging personnel of the Savelugu community health centre to increase the number of antenatal and postnatal service days from only Tuesday to every working day of the week.
- Improved sanitation in the Nsawkaw, Atebubu and Savelugu communities as a result of the club collaborating with the assembly for a new dumping site and collection bins.
- Some of the clubs have also added to their membership the chiefs of their communities as a result of their good works and general acceptance by the communities.
- Kpando SACs work to ensured improved sanitation in the community by working in collaboration with the Assembly
- By monitoring development and construction projects in the district, the Somanya SACs alerted the Assembly officials to shoddy construction work and consequently the district has suspended final payments to contractors of shoddy work until the work is done satisfactorily
- Dunkwa- on-Offin SACs are active in the local media, speaking on issues of corruption and have also worked closely with chiefs and local authorities to engage the small scale miners to reforest previously mined lands and provide social amenities(clinic and portable water) for affected communities
- In Atebubu, the construction of an administration block at the Atebubu College of Education has been completed due to pressure from the club on the contractor and an abandoned NHIS’s uncompleted structure has now been re-awarded
- The Konongo SAC partnered with the District Assembly to identify loop holes in the assembly’s revenue collection system which led to a revision of the system and a corresponding increase in revenue generation for developmental activities in the district.