In June 2017, CAPI hosted Global Cities II, a conference that brought together cities from around the world to discuss anti-corruption efforts and share ideas for how to solve common problems. One major topic of discussion was oversight. This practitioner toolkit was conceived out of a breakout session on the topic of oversight, during which nearly 30 integrity professionals from CAPI’s city delegations brainstormed about the most important features of successful municipal oversight bodies. The resulting list of the most important qualities for oversight offices formed the backbone of this toolkit on best practices for municipal oversight entities. The toolkit was then supplemented by additional research and interviews with numerous practitioners.
Obviously, oversight agencies differ dramatically in both mandate and function, and it is important to remember that oversight bodies exist in varying legal, cultural, and institutional atmospheres. The Association of Inspectors General, which provides a rich source of guidance in terms of the creation of an oversight body, notes that “[t]he fact that each OIG is different and approaches its mission within widely differing contexts precludes prescription of a consistent” set of principles, practices, and tools for oversight bodies. Notwithstanding the diversity among oversight offices, three features of successful oversight bodies emerged as virtually required for successful oversight: independence, jurisdiction/powers, and accountability. The following sections expand upon these three features. We then provide some additional thoughts on topics that practitioners also deemed important to success: building public trust; protection for whistleblowers and witnesses; requirements for employees to report corruption; and cross-agency coordination.
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Best Practices in Municipal Oversight,
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/public_integrity/50