Statistics - measuring a fix

At Integrity Action we believe that the most valuable measurement is one which tells you the rate at which specified problems are resolved. We call this the “Fix-Rate”.

The Fix-Rate

The Fix-Rate measures the extent to which anti-corruption, transparency and accountability tools and laws are used to resolve a problem to the satisfaction of key stakeholders. The focus is on measuring deliverables to citizens (outputs) and to assess whether remedial action helped to achieve a specific fix.

The Fix-rate is the percentage of identified problems that are resolved. For example, if community monitors identify problems in ten projects and resolve six of them, they have achieved a 60% fix rate. If they resolve only two problems, their fix-rate is 20%.

What does it measure?

The Fix-Rate measures mostly low and mid-level corruption in public services, procurement, and infrastructure. In Afghanistan, for example, officials cannot account for one third of aid between 2002-2009 (£23 billion). Classic anti-corruption measures have largely been unsuccessful in contexts like Afghanistan.

The Fix-Rate does not measure corruption directly. It is, in that sense, a true proxy. To achieve a high Fix-Rate communities often uncover hard, or ‘smoking-gun’ evidence of corruption. But unlike a traditional anti-corruption drive, they do not seek to blow the whistle using this evidence. Instead, they use the evidence as leverage with public officials and other stakeholders to achieve a fix, which may be an improved infrastructure, or public service outcome.

Changes in corrupt behaviours

When fixes can be achieved with some degree of consistency this can be interpreted as a signal that policy, law or method of problem solving works and that it has the potential to become a routine practice of state-society relations. Constructive stakeholder engagement is critical to achieving a solution that can be measured by the fix-rate. Through this engagement we build trust between the “corrupt” and the entitled beneficiary. Increased trust leads to problem solving and ultimately to a better outcome i.e. the fix.

The validity of the Fix-Rate

We are testing the validity through our own triangulation using DevelopmentCheck.org (our online tool for citizen feedback), peer reviews and Communities of Practice. We’ve obtained independent verification of our findings and are open to critical review.

Context

Contextual information is key as it is provides the initial analysis of what citizens can access, the nature of the problem and how it can be fixed. We have successfully used the fix-rate in countries where governance is weak, the rule of law is often flaunted, and corruption is commonplace.

We have tested the fix-rate in different settings:

·      Literacy: 98 percent in Kyrgyzstan versus 28 percent in Afghanistan;

·      Fast growing economies: Timor Leste, Kenya;

·      Poor Human Development Index scores: Nepal, Afghanistan;

·      Urban: Palestine versus rural Nepal.

Proxy/nonproxy indicators

The Fix-Rate should never be reported in isolation from other data, e.g. quantitative data like the number and value of monitored projects, and the number of problems identified. As well as qualitative indicators such as the drivers of responsiveness of government and service providers. The Fix-Rate complements existing perception and experience based indicators by narrowing the focus to realities on the ground (rather than macro level) and gives a clear indication of where integrity building efforts should be focused.

Strengths & weakness

The fix-rate measures if problems are resolved and if the response benefits the community, something typical indicators do not capture. Ultimately, the fix-rate should improve while the problem rate should go down.

Using the fix-rate as a key unit of measurement makes it possible for aid agencies, governments, business and civil society to compare the effectiveness of different treatments of intervention, and to assess whether the treatment is long lasting. It underpins the notion that people at different levels of government can contribute to fixing the problems they encounter and they can do even better if they are willing to let stakeholders in their community help them. Ultimately, repairing the broken link between government and people.

Weaknesses relate to issues such as timelines (the time it takes to achieve a fix varies greatly), and sustainability (fixed projects may revert to deficiencies in future). Long-term monitoring is key to ensure the treatment is long-lasting. 

Read more about our approach:

Download The Fix-Rate working paper – English

Download The Fix-Rate working paper – Arabic

Download The Fix-Rate working paper - Bahasa Indonesian

Download The Fix-Rate working paper – French

Download The Fix-Rate working paper – Russian

Download The Fix-Rate working paper – Hungarian