Promoting good governance needs effective framework of governance.
The five frameworks that are necessary in promoting a transparent and effective governance include: a commitment to transparency, effective governmental structures and oversight, anti-corruption laws, whistleblower protections, and the freedom of the press.
Commitment to transparency
- To be transparent means to have laws requiring information on how a government functions be made available to the public
- Timely release of government activities and information
- Communication channels that will make it easier for citizens to access official information
- Governments should also make official information available to citizens via all useful channels, including social media. Access to government budget information is imperative, and finding out how the government spends taxpayer money is one of the most direct ways citizens can determine their government’s priorities. Access to budget information also allows citizens to ensure their taxpayer dollars are spent in a way that benefits them.
- Similarly, a government’s public procurement process must also be transparent to ensure that government purchases are made in an open and impartial manner. And this degree of transparency enables citizens to identify potential sources of corruption. In the United States, elected officials have been forced from office for using taxpayer money to decorate their offices or fund their re-election campaigns.
Effective Government Structures & Oversight
Executive Arm of government
- Governmental structures and oversight are necessary to prevent and mitigate corruption.
- The executive functions of government should be structured to reduce officials’ ability to alter procedures and operating functions without due process and the involvement of their citizens and the elected representatives.
- Contact between officials and citizens should be limited to open and appropriate venues to eliminate opportunities for corruption. This means that if someone wants to do business with a particular ministry or office, there is an objective, clear and well-established process they must follow that is known to all.
- To deter or mitigate real or perceived corruption in the executive branch, other institutions in a government must provide stringent oversight. For example, the executive branch should not be able to independently change laws and regulations.
- A strong judiciary also acts as a critical check on the other branches of government and ensures proper enforcement of the law.
Proper Enforcement of the Law
- Judges should be qualified, well-trained and impartial, often with lifetime appointments designed to protect them from political influence or intimidation.
- Proper vetting of judges by the legislative branch, prior to their appointments and throughout their tenures, also serves to root out potential conflicts that could lead to questions about a judge’s commitment to good governance.
Public Audit of Government Functions
- In Kenya for instance there is the controller of budget whose role involves overseeing the implementation of the budgets of both national and county.
- The controller of budget in this role monitors the use of Public funds in-year and reports to parliament on how the funds have been utilized. The office of the auditor’s general on the other hand is an independent body promoting good governance and accountability in the management of public resources. It’s an office created by the constitution of Kenya under Article 229
- In addition, employing a professional, independent and well-compensated civil service also helps to reduce the risks of corruption.
- By crafting laws and procedures designed to ensure civil servants are qualified, professional, free from political influence and receive competitive wages,
governments can significantly reduce temptations for corruption.
- Moreover, by installing an effective oversight authority, governments are positioned to reward civil servants for strong, ethical performance, while similarly punishing
Effective Oversight Authority
Although these mechanisms help to reduce corruption risks, strong anti-corruption laws and enforcement are the foundation of a strong good-governance doctrine.
- First, a government must implement strong anti-corruption criminal laws that punish actual impropriety and malfeasance.
- Although strong and well-written anti-corruption laws are critical, they are worthless without effective enforcement.
- Anti-corruption laws must be actively enforced by well-trained, experienced, well-resourced, and professional investigators and prosecutors. The laws must also include strong penalties, including prison time and large fines, to punish corrupt behavior and deter others from engaging in the same misconduct.
- Unlike criminal laws, which address actual impropriety, a strong focus on ethics guards against the mere appearance of impropriety.
- Ethics laws address conflicts of interest and other ethical pitfalls to ensure that government officials always act in the best interests of the country, not in the interest of their bank accounts.
Encourage and Protect Whistleblowers
- Transparency International identifies protection of identity, protection against retribution, and immunity from disciplinary proceedings and liability under the law as key principles that must be enshrined in law to protect whistleblowers. This helps to ensure whistleblowers are not punished for their advocacy.
Freedom of the Press
- Free and open press is critical to good governance.
- Trained, professional journalists are necessary to expose corruption and guard against the abuse of power. To do this, it is imperative that the press has access to government officials and the work they do.
- The workings of government must be shared with the public through objective actors who can report the news and provide honest analyses.
- A free and open press also means that journalists should not be censored, persecuted or subjected to unreasonably restrictive libel laws.
- We will look at ways that citizens can work to promote transparency and good governance in another lesson in this course.
Effective, transparent and good governance require some frameworks in place such as commitment to transparency, freed and open press, encourage and protect whistleblowers, effective oversight authority and effective government structures.