Civic monitoring of public funding
What is meant by “civic” monitoring and why is it important to improve our cities and neighborhoods?
Civic monitoring is a form of participation in democratic life, through which citizens can oversee the use of public funds. Experts, journalists, activists, students or lay citizens can evaluate the progress, results and effects of public investments in their region, city or neighbourhood. The goal is to stimulate an informed public debate on public spending and offer collaboration to policy makers
Where to start?
To start the investigations, you need to know what, where and when is financed by public funds in your region or city. For this reason, Public Administrations (Local Authorities, Regions, Ministries, up to the structures of the European Commission) are supposed to share at least this minimum set of information, without which no transparency is possible.
Together with numerous other third-sector organizations, research centers, and universities, we ask that all data of the Administrations useful for civic monitoring (not protected by privacy) be published on the web. We mean open and reusable data, with details for every single funded project from the official, administrative monitoring, including the indicators and targets used to measure results. It’s also important to access to the documents and qualitative information on projects, policy strategies and procedures to understand who has made policy decisions on behalf of citizens.
What’s there to monitor?
Civic monitoring activities can be carried out in different ways.
Some civic realities help citizens make it easier to read and understand public data, for example through visualizations and infographics. Other groups aggregate and analyze existing data to offer assessments, raise specific issues or underline the need for greater transparency by public bodies. Certain organizations focus on specific measures or interventions by evaluating their progress over time and collecting new “civic” data that can be discussed with the Public Administrations. Some of these focus on data on procurement procedures to make them more transparent and prevent corruption.
All these approaches complement each other and contribute to the creation of ideas and suggestions based on objective data and evidence.
Our approach: supervise, evaluate, collaborate
The Monithon method, available to all, focuses on the participatory evaluation of the individual interventions (projects), creating opportunities for dialogue directly on the territories between citizens interested in the effects of the funding and the public and private actors responsible for carrying out works or services.
The individual project represents the ideal level of observation, with sufficient detail to concretely evaluate the results and effectiveness of public funds and stimulate the interest of local communities.
On each project, those who use our method collect new data and information through direct visits, interviews, questionnaires, or any other way deemed most useful.
This civic-type monitoring does not replace administrative monitoring, institutional mechanisms for verifying investments, or scientific evaluations, but has the objective of complementing public information with the point of view of the final beneficiaries of the interventions.
Discover how our method can be used by different kind of actors:
Follow the steps of civic monitoring: