Education, Health & Water
Approaches to corruption assessment in basic services
The range of approaches which can be used to assess corruption in education, health and water and sanitation at different levels makes for a complex picture. Generally speaking, sector-wide (macro) approaches tend to focus on anti-corruption and risk assessment, whereas local-level (micro) approaches tend to focus more on perceptions of, and experiences with, corruption. Figure 1 shows how these different approaches fit within a given sector. Some of the most promising assessments in this area use a combination of one or more of these approaches in order to provide a more holistic picture of the governance challenges throughout the sector (see promising practices).
(1) Sector-wide approaches
- Political economy analysis2 approaches tend to focus on power relations, stakeholder interests/incentives, and accountability relations at the sector level. An additional component may be an assessment of the capacity and readiness for reform within the sector. Such an analysis can provide insight into the reasons for disparities in both performance and governance across and within sectors and between national and sub-national levels, and can be used to inform a deeper assessment of corruption risks (see below). The approach generally involves desk-based research and legal institutional analysis, combined with interviews with knowledgeable experts on the political dynamics of the country and sector in question. Because it is a highly context-specific approach, political economy analysis tools tend to offer guidance on how to develop an assessment at sector level rather than a rigid methodology3.
- Risk assessments are designed to help identify those areas of a particular sector which are most vulnerable to corruption. This includes the use of indicators and ‘scenarios’ which may indicate where corruption is more likely to occur (red flags) as well as assessments of accountability and transparency gaps at different levels throughout the sector4.
(2) Micro-level approaches
- Social accountability tools can be used to gather information on public service users’ experiences with corruption, most notably through the use of Citizen Report Cards (CRC). The CRC addresses issues such as access to, and quality and reliability of, services, problems encountered by users of services and responsiveness of service providers in addressing these problems. Although most CRCs are designed to gather user feedback on the performance of public services, they can also been used to assess the level of transparency in service provision, and hidden costs such as bribes5. Other relevant social accountability approaches include community scorecards, social audits and participatory M&E6.
- Surveys generally aim to gather information on the experiences and perceptions of citizens when interacting with service providers7. In many cases, these are national level surveys which include questions across a broad range of sectors (public sectors, police, judiciary, taxation, social services, basic services etc.)8. Community-based surveys are also commonly used, often as part of social accountability approaches (see above).
- Sub-sectoral and institutional approaches are designed to diagnose corruption problems in specific sub-sectors (e.g. higher education, pharmaceuticals) or in specific institutions (e.g water company). They generally use targeted surveys or key informant interviews sometimes combined with institutional analysis9.
- Assessments of specific corrupt practices at the service provider level in different sectors (e.g. informal payments, absenteeism) generally involve in depth interviews and focus groups, sometimes combined with cases direct observation or ‘surprise visits’ to service provider institutions10.
(3) Multi-level approaches
- Mixed method approaches generally combine two or more of the following: household surveys, service user surveys, key informant interviews with service providers, government representatives or public officals, institutional analysis and desk reviews, and expenditure tracking. Further analysis may be done through focus groups. The combination of methods allows for analysis at different levels in the service delivery chain and triangulating the data allows for validation of information11 (see promising practices). To facilitate the use of mixed method approaches there are a small number of sourcebooks which offer guidance on the most appropriate combination of tools for particular contexts and purposes12.
- Resource flow assessments13 are designed to assess leakage in sector funds. The Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS) uses surveys of frontline providers and local government staff, combined with official financial data, to track the flows of resources from central government to the service provider. It collects information on facility characteristics, financial flows, outputs and accountability arrangements14. A related method is the Quantitative Service Delivery Survey (QSDS), most commonly used in the health sector. A QSDS take the PETS one step further by examining the efficiency of public spending and incentives at the level of the service facility. The QSDS focuses on the service provider as the main unit of analysis and involves interviews with managers, staff and in some cases, beneficiaries15.
2 See also Political Economy Analysis Topic Guide (coming soon)
3 Analysing and Managing the Political Dynamics of Sector Reforms: A Sourcebook on Sector-level Political Economy Approaches ▪ Guide to Political Economy and Stakeholder Analysis at Sector Level ▪ Analysing and Addressing Governance in Sector Operations ▪ Governance and Drivers of Change in Ethiopia’s Water Supply Sector
4 Corruption in the Healthcare Sector in Bulgaria ▪ Education Risk Assessment Guidance Note ▪ How To Note on Addressing Corruption in the Health Sector ▪ Uganda: Risk - Opportunity Mapping Study on Integrity and Accountability in the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector ▪ Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Africa (TISDA) ▪ Annotated Water Integrity Scan (AWIS)
5 Improving Local Governance and Pro-poor Service Delivery through Citizen Report Cards ▪ Transparency in Education: Report Card in Bangladesh
6 See also Social Accountability Topic Guide (coming soon)
7 National Study on Corruption in the Higher Education Sector in Ukraine ▪ Student Perception on Corruption in the Armenian Higher Education System ▪ Report on Integrity in Government Hospitals in the Colombo District
8 See also Public Surveys Topic Guide (coming soon)
9 Measuring Transparency to Improve Good Governance in the Public Pharmaceutical Sector ▪ Integrity Study: Teachers Service Commission ▪ Corruption Risks in Water Licensing: With Case Studies from Chile and Kazakhstan
10 Wealth, Health, and Health Services in Rural Rajasthan ▪ Absenteeism of Teachers and Health Workers ▪ Drawing the Line: Parental Informal Payments for Education across Eurasia ▪ Towards a Transparent and Quality Healthcare System: A Qualitative Study on the Causes, Perceptions and Impact of Informal Payments in Health Services in Vietnam
11 Africa Education Watch ▪ Social Audits of Governance and Delivery of Public Services: Pakistan ▪ Kenya Health Sector Integrity Study Report ▪ Kenya Education Sector Integrity Study Report ▪ Forms and Extent of Corruption in Education in Sri Lanka
12 Deterring Corruption and Improving Governance in the Urban Water & Sanitation Sector ▪ Improving Transparency, Integrity, and Accountability in Water Supply and Sanitation ▪ How To Note on Addressing Corruption in the Health Sector
13 See also Public Finance Topic Guide (coming soon).
14 Using Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys to Monitor Projects and Small-Scale Programs: A Guidebook ▪ Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys in Education ▪ Public Expenditure Tracking Survey in the Water Sector
15 Quantitative Service Delivery Surveys (QSDS)