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Chapter 14: Advocacy & Legal Advice Centres (ALACs) Experiences in fostering citizen participation and government responsiveness Angela Keller-Herzog. Kumarian Press. Unpacking statements about ‘lack of political will’ a little…. Is it like a light-switch?

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Chapter 14:

Advocacy & Legal Advice Centres (ALACs)

Experiences in fostering citizen participation and government responsiveness

Angela Keller-Herzog

Kumarian Press

Unpacking statements about lack of political will a little
Unpacking statements about ‘lack of political will’ a little….

  • Is it like a light-switch?

  • Is it the primary determinant factor shaping governance

    • Abstract, intangible, untouchable?

    • Idiosyncratic geopolitical pressures and circumstance-bound power struggles

      Statements which attribute our failures to “lack of political will” can have a strong sub-text of disempowerment and disconnectedness

    • Need to examine our own connectedness

    • Need to see how we are constructing ourselves to be empowered agencies… to converse with the agencies of political will

Advocacy legal advice centres
Advocacy little….& Legal Advice Centres

A Case Study

Alac 101
ALAC 101 little….

  • ALACs aim to:

  • Empower citizens to make and pursue corruption-related complaints

  • Translate these complaints into structural changes

ALAC activities are to:

  • Provide legal advice and assistance to victims or witnesses of corruption

  • Help citizens pursue corruption-related complaints

  • Undertake advocacy for broader reform

Alac 1011
ALAC 101 little….

  • The rationales for the ALAC are that:

  • The fight against corruption will be more effective if citizens are involved (anti-corruption work not limited to ‘experts’)

  • Engaging directly with citizens provides a deeper understanding as to how corruption works in practice (information not always available from surveys)

  • Reflecting the real experiences of people enhances the legitimacy of advocacy campaigns (grounded in the concerns of the population; not just TI ‘opinion’)

Alac 1012
ALAC 101 little….

  • The types of cases the ALACs deal with vary enormously:

  • From small- (e.g., small business licensing) to large-scale (hundreds of millions of dollars/ procurement)

  • Across sectors (e.g., businesses, health, education)

  • The clients include:

  • Vulnerable people (who frequently have no other options available)

  • Empowered individuals (seeking to assert their rights and who are frequently able to effect change)

The democratisation of the anti-corruption fight: little….At a basic and obvious level, the ALACs are the empowerment of individuals to fight against corruption. In this, ALACs provide a practical answer to the problem of how to broaden the anti-corruption coalition and involve citizens.

Institutional reform:By using information gained from cases (either individual cases or common themes running through a variety of cases), the ALACs are able to advocate for reform. Many larger-scale changes have been effected by ALACs, including, for example, introduction of whistle-blower laws, new administrative procedures for inspections and licenses.

An approach not a blueprint
An Approach not a Blueprint little….

In practice ALACs vary enormously from country to country.

Environment: If legal system functions, ALACs can focus more on pursuit of legal remedies. More broadly, the environment for ALACs is set by how citizenship can be practiced in a country. Culture and history are important in shaping the functioning of institutions.

NC leadership and management choices: Different perception of risks, different perception of opportunities, different roads to Rome.

Mobile outreach transparency azerbaijan
Mobile Outreach little…. Transparency Azerbaijan



Inventing ourselves through our practice
Inventing Ourselves Through our Practice little….

Key Success Factors of TI ALACs:

  • Engagement and connection is necessary but not sufficient

  • Persistence and consistency

  • the (multi-dimensional) powers of information


  • One-off messages do not succeed.

  • Consistent and legal framing is appreciated by bureaucrats/technocrats.

  • Managerial competence and capacity required to achieve quality benchmarks of practice

  • ALACs: little…. Helping Citizens resist corruption

    • ALACs: Translating citizen complaints into structural change

  • ALACs: New Generation of TI Program

    Thank You