CoST- The Infrastructure Transparency Initiative is a multinational effort to explore how public construction projects could be made more transparent and accountable, reducing the mismanagement, waste, and corruption that are common in the sector. Governments, affected stakeholders, and the wider public all stand to benefit.
An essential feature of CoST is the multi-stakeholder approach which brings together government, industry the private sector and civil society to pursue a common goal. Typically, this is achieved with the establishment of a Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) comprising representatives of each stakeholder group. The MSG is responsible for providing leadership and setting policy and standards for the CoST programme. The National Secretariat works closely with the MSG and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the CoST programme.
Multi-stakeholder working offers advantages over conventional approaches. Evidence shows for example, that a combination of different perspectives can be very effective in solving complex problems. The involvement of a range of stakeholders also helps to build legitimacy for change, which is particularly important when that change is potentially challenging or controversial. But multi-stakeholder working can also be challenging. It is difficult to for example to identify individuals and organisations that are genuinely representative of different interests, but also sufficiently independent to think and act decisively. Different sectoral cultures and priorities can also make decision making time-consuming and complicated.
This Guidance Note describes the steps to consider when establishing an MSG and National Secretariat. It is the fourth in a series of seven Guidance Notes.