Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Citizen Report Card (CRC)?

The CRC is an assessment of public services from the point of view of users. Basically it is a "report card" on service provision by government agencies. Unlike an opinion poll, the CRC includes only feedback from individuals who have used a particular service. As a result, the CRC takes the experience of users instead of just views from the general public. The CRC process involves gathering and disseminating citizen feedback, as well as follow-up efforts, to facilitate improvements in service delivery.

CRCs provide something that has been previously absent in many locations around the world; creating a mechanism to collect feedback from the average user of services to push for improvements based on the feedback. This learning product comprises of implementing the CRC survey for two public services, drinking water and sanitation.

Will conducting a CRC improve the quality of public services in my locality?

Carrying out a Citizen Report Card doesn't ensure improvements in public services. For example, if a majority of respondents to a CRC survey report that municipal water quality is poor, the service provider will not necessarily work to improve the quality of water.

Although Citizen Report Cards do not improve service delivery in and of themselves, the dissemination and advocacy efforts related to CRC findings can work to trigger reforms. For improvements to occur, the local service provider, and sometimes citizens, must make larger procedural and attitudinal changes.

Who in a locality is best qualified to carry out a CRC?

To conduct a CRC, an organization should be

a. reliable part of the city or sector where the effort is launched
b. neutral
c. skilled in understanding survey techniques and quantitative analysis (this can be partially outsourced)
d. experienced in working with multiple constituents
e. committed to long-term change.

CSOs or an independent consortium are most likely to satisfy the combination of independence, commitment and skills to carry out a Citizen Report Card.

What skills does the lead institution require?

The lead institution requires a range of project management, social science research, and advocacy skills. In addition, the lead institution should be independent and a well-respected member of the local community. The public should believe in the integrity of the CRC findings that are prepared by the lead institution.