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BA - Rhodes University

MA Philosophy and social theory – Warwick University

M-Phil – University of Ulster



Colm Allan is the director of the Governance and Development Unit (GDU). The main objective is to strengthen the governance of public resources and to improve public service delivery and development outcomes. The GDU will initiate a Municipal Governance Programme in 2018 to focus on local government in South Africa, with the following objectives:


  • To conduct diagnostic reviews of key municipal services (such as water, sanitation, housing, roads and solid waste management)
  • To provide practical short course training to municipal councillors, officials and civil society groups
  • To provide post-training support to short course alumni seeking to implement training tools
  • To provide postgraduate interns to municipalities to undertake research and provide support to key municipal structures


Colm has 20 years of applied experience in the field of governance, accountability, human rights and development. He established the Public Service Accountability Monitor in 1999, and Centre for Social Accountability in 2007, at Rhodes. Since 2011 he has been a research associate in the Department of Sociology. He has also been the director of a consulting firm, SAME Indicators (, since 2012, which specialises in the development of socially accountable governance indicators, the conceptualisation of governance project interventions, and the evaluation of governance projects. Over the years Colm has worked on governance and development projects with a number of UN agencies, independent foundations, bilateral funding organisations and international non-governmental organisations.



  • Indicators for socially accountable governance, social justice and development
  • Realist social theory
  • Realist evaluation of governance and development projects



  • Margaret Archer’s Realist Social Theory, Advanced Social Theory, Masters in Sociology
  • Governance and Evaluation, Development Studies, Masters in Sociology



‘Science, Epistemological Relativism and Truth: Some Comments on Roy Bhaskar’s Transcendental Realism’, South African Journal of Philosophy, 1998, 17(1).

‘Have they been brought to book? What happens to all those cases of public sector corruption?’, Focus, Volume 17, March 2000.

‘The Argentine Crisis, Lessons for South Africa’, Indicator South Africa, Volume 19 Number 1, March 2002.

‘Africa: Monitoring the Implementation of NEPAD’, What’s Next? Australian Centre for International Strategic Analysis, May 2002.

‘APRM’s economic governance and management standards: What civil society should look for’, co-authored with Neil Overy in Grappling with Governance: Perspectives on the African Peer Review Mechanism edited by Steven Gruzd, 2011, Fanele: Jacana Media.



‘The Crisis of Public Health Care in the Eastern Cape, The Post-Apartheid Challenges of Oversight and Accountability’, lead-author (with Neil Overy, Zama Somhlaba, Vuyo Tetyana, and Lucas Zepe), 2004, Compress: Cape Town



‘Democratic accountability in South Africa at the crossroads’, PSAM occasional paper, 19 January 2001.

‘Why the involvement of the Special Investigating Unit in the arms probe is vital to the public interest’, PSAM occasional paper, 26 January 2001.

‘Coega, conflicts of interest and the arms deal’, PSAM occasional paper, 24 July 2001.

‘Government Corruption seen From the Inside: A Survey of Public Officials’ Perceptions of Corruption in the Eastern Cape’, 2002, co-authored with Robert Mattes and Unathi Millie, PSAM Research Series No 1, Grahamstown.

‘Proposed Amendments to the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), A Joint Submission by The South African History Archive (SAHA) and the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) to the Justice Portfolio Committee, National Assembly of South Africa’, co-authored with Verne Harris and Sello Hatang of SAHA, 1 September 2003.

‘An Evaluation of the Eastern Cape Department of Health HIV/Aids Business Plan for 2003/04 by the Public Service Accountability Monitor’, co-authored with Xolisa Vitsha, submission to the Finance Standing Committee, Eastern Cape Legislature, Bisho, 2 March 2004

‘An Evaluation of 2004/05 Budget Allocations and Strategic Plans for Eastern Cape Departments of Health, Social Development, Education, and Housing. Co-authored with Vuyo Tetyana and Xolisa Vitsha, submission to Finance Standing Committee on Eastern Cape Legislature, Bisho 2 March 2004.

‘PSAM Evaluation of the Department of Housing and Local Government’s Strategic Plan for the 2004 -2009 MTEF period’ co-authored with by Lucas Zepe, and Vuyo Tetyana, submitted to Eastern Cape Provincial Treasury, 25 November 2004.

‘An Evaluation of proposed budget allocations and draft Strategic Plans for the Eastern Cape Departments of Health and Social Development for the 2005/06 financial-year’, co-authored with Vuyo Tetana, submission to Medium Term Expenditure Committee Hearings, Eastern Cape Treasury, 26 November 2004.

‘Submission to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) South Africa Country Review by the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) (250 pages) Managed, edited and co-authored with Jay Kruuse, Neil Overy, Debbie Dalton, Thoko Madonko, and Stacey-Leigh Joseph, 10 March 2006.

‘Submission to the Pillay Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Finances of the Eastern Cape Provincial Administration by the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM)’ (245 pages). Managed, edited co-authored with Jay Kruuse, Neil Overy, Debbie Dalton, Thoko Madonko, and Stacey-Leigh Joseph, 15 February 2006.

‘Accountability and Service Delivery in Southern Africa, The case for rights-based social accountability monitoring’, 2007, CSA Regional Consultation Reports, Report 1 Tanzania.

‘Strengthening accountability and service delivery in Tanzania: The case for rights-based social accountability monitoring’, HakiElimu Working Papers, 2007, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

‘Strengthening Social Accountability in Malawi’, written by Colm Allan with contributions from Mavuto Bamusi, Clara Chindime, Andrew Kumbatira and Robert White. January 2010.

'Review of the South African National Programme of Action for the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)', a research report undertaken on behalf of the Electoral Institute for Southern Africa (EISA), June 2011.

Report to Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Maputo, containing ‘Conceptualisation and design of a three-year Municipal Social Accountability Monitoring (SAM) programme in Mozambique’. September 2011.

‘Evaluation of the Association of Public Accounts Committee (APAC) and Southern African Development Community Public Accounts Committees (SADCOPAC) Training Programmes’, SDC Pretoria. November 2012.

‘Report on Findings: Pilot Testing of SAME Indicators in the Health Sector in Mozambique’, 18 March 2014.

‘National Mechanisms for Reporting and Follow-up, A Study of State Engagement with International Human Rights Mechanisms’, 2016, and accompanying practical guide: ‘National Mechanisms for Reporting and Follow-up - A Practical Guide to Effective State Engagement with International Human Rights Mechanisms’ (both available at:

‘External Evaluation of UNESCO Democratic Empowerment Programme Community Radio Support Interventions in Tanzania, 2013 – 2016.’ UNESCO Dar es Salaam. 2017.


Last Modified: Fri, 25 May 2018 11:59:41 SAST