Political parties should play key roles in democratic governance by representing citizens and aggregating their concerns into policy, and by vetting, selecting and influencing political leaders. However, corruption, state capture, populism and opaque party organizations undermine public confidence in parties around the world, fueling political instability. Citizens increasingly perceive parties as: elite-driven and unrepresentative of the broader public; unwilling to include and empower women and other historically underrepresented communities; uncommitted to transparency and accountability; and generally untrustworthy. To earn citizen trust, parties must offer a constructive vision, deliver results and establish meaningful linkages among diverse communities.
Win With Integrity: Earning Citizen Trust in Political Parties is intended for reform-minded political parties and their members. Through this self-assessment, party members can evaluate their internal party procedures and practices around issues of integrity (e.g., transparency, accountability, inclusive decision-making), and identify, prioritize and plan for internal party integrity reforms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Win With Integrity is a comprehensive assessment tool and advocacy guide to promote transparency, accountability and inclusion by equipping integrity advocates (reform-minded political party members and civil society) with tools and tactics to strengthen their ability to assess, identify and advocate for intraparty integrity reforms. This includes:
- Evaluating intraparty practices, followed by prioritizing and advocating for areas of integrity reform;
- Understanding the intraparty environment to assess where integrity reform is possible;
- Navigating contextual factors that shape incentives for intraparty integrity reform;
- Guiding civil society and the media to promote accountability and conduct oversight in intraparty integrity reform.
Win With Integrity builds on the team’s Reflect, Reform, Reengage: A Blueprint for 21st Century Parties and accompanying Taking the Wheel and Piloting Change: A Framework for Party Reformers. In late 2020 - early 2021, NDI's Political Parties Team partnered with the Institute's Colombia and North Macedonia offices to successfully pilot Win With Integrity with parties and civil society. The program has already seen initial outcomes, including one party taking ownership of the process and training its members with NDI support and other parties inviting civil society to partner on issues of inclusion within their structures. For more information about the pilot phase, please see our Community Learning Webinar presentation with Colombian and Macedonian staff.
The assessment tool in Win With Integrity has been designed for integrity-minded political parties to use on their own with or without external support. Some of the conversations around the culture or practices of a political party can be sensitive or difficult, and an insider-only environment can make it easier to initiate an internal debate and an appropriate integrity-reform plan. However, if a party is ready to do so, there is also unique value in bringing in an experienced, impartial and trusted external facilitator to guide the organization through the integrity assessment. It isn’t always possible to see our own problems or challenges, particularly when changes occur over time.
While it is best to undergo the full self-assessment, parties may choose to focus on one or more assessment sections if there are urgent matters that need to be addressed in a short period of time. Any progress on internal party integrity is valuable.
There are two significant benefits to parties in conducting integrity assessments. The first is an opportunity to engage party members in a meaningful activity in between elections. When party members are able to make a substantial contribution to party organization and culture, they are likely to feel a sense of ownership in promoting party values and success during elections. The second benefit is the party’s ability to gain or rebuild trust among skeptical or disillusioned citizens. Voters know when a political party is serious about internal integrity and improving its practices. Implementing reforms can be an effective party outreach strategy.
Yes. NDI’s work is most effective when parties trust the Institute enough to openly share their concerns and operational challenges. Party confidentiality is paramount, given the competitive nature of parties and that this is often a prerequisite for working with parties on sensitive organizational and strategic changes.
In addition to the tips above, if a party decides to initiate an integrity assessment, it must be organized and directed by a dedicated team. The ideal core assessment team should comprise individuals who demonstrate high levels of integrity and will preferably include both senior leadership at the national and branch levels that have the power and tools to change the system, and grassroots members and activists. Demographic diversity within the team is also crucial; women and men should be equally represented among assessment participants. Efforts should be made to include youth activists as well as representatives of historically underrepresented communities. While the assessment questions should be answered by a credible representative sample of party members, the core team is responsible for analyzing results, proposing recommendations and agreeing on an implementation plan.