Web-based mapping tools, mobile technologies and interactive media are being used globally to address public problems and uncover corruption.
There is real potential for new technologies to transform transparency and accountability work. They enable citizens to get closer to the policy-making process by giving them new and improved ways of participating and are allowing campaigners to scale their activities cheaply and rapidly.
By simplifying the analysis of large amounts of data, new technologies are also encouraging the use of evidence in policy-making, advocacy and research. At an organisational level, tools such as data sharing platforms and interactive management are also helping improve the internal efficiency and effectiveness of organisations.
While there has been a great deal of experimentation using new technologies, there is little available evidence of how and why such technologies work and what impact they have on improving transparency and accountability. For example, our research points to great opportunities in new technologies being used to amplify NGO and governmental strategies for accountability. This lack of analysis risks preventing practitioners and policymakers from fully exploiting the potential of new technologies in our field.
The Transparency and Accountability Initiative’s (T/A Initiative) activities in this area aim to strengthen understanding of this field and directly stimulate the wider use of technology by leading civil society organisations working on transparency and accountability.
Tools for best practice
So far, our work has analysed the impact and effectiveness of pioneering new technologies used by governments and civil society worldwide to improve transparency and accountability efforts. We showcase examples which include how new technologies are being used to improve the transparency of budgets, open government data and monitor legislatures.
Our proposals detail best practice and suggest new areas for donor policies and programmes to help nurture technological innovations and the innovators that will shape them.
Our research includes two other work areas: