The Community Score Card (CSC) is a participatory approach developed to engage citizens in poverty monitoring and evaluation. For instance, in Ghana, CSC is a dynamic and flexible instrument used to empower a community in strengthening the social and public accountability of expenditures by enabling the community to exercise its “voice” on public sector performance or to conduct the community's assessment of specific public expenditures. Using this tool, Ghanian Members of Parliament can transform the community into a basic unit of analysis; and through this, empower them to enhance accountability at the local level, while providing substantial data for debates in the Ghanian Parliament on accountability. The CSC can be used for the collection of information by Ghanian Parliamentary Committees of Finance, Public Accounts, and others, in order to assess budget and expenditure performance and thereby promote greater accountability and responsiveness from service-providing institutions and government departments.
The CSC’s methodology uses focus groups rather than formalized questionnaires. Its numerous strengths include an immediate feedback and the forum that it creates for dialogues between users and service providers on reforms or improvements. As a tool for community engagement, the use of CSC has to be both context, and location-specific. The effectiveness of this tool depends largely on a number of the following interrelated factors: (i) level of understanding of the socio-political environment of the decentralized (local) level; (ii) technical competence of the team who facilitate the process; (iii) a strong publicity program to stimulate a maximum participation by the community and relevant stakeholders; and, (iv) a detailed step-wise program for institutionalizing the practice for sustained action on the issues that emerge - feeding these into Parliamentary processes.