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Accountability in Public Policy Partnerships - download pdf or read online

By J. Steets

ISBN-10: 0230238971

ISBN-13: 9780230238978

Governments and overseas companies more and more use public-private partnerships to convey crucial public items. This book presents a brand new version of responsibility which guarantees that those partnerships do not erode public responsibility. It defines concrete responsibility criteria for various kinds of partnerships.

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Thus Andreas Schedler defines political accountability as follows: [T]he notion of political accountability carries two basic connotations: answerability, the obligation of public officials to inform about and to explain what they are doing; and enforcement, the capacity of accounting agencies to impose sanctions on powerholders who have violated their public duties. (Schedler, 1999, p. 14) Similarly, Robert Keohane, who develops a concept of accountability for inter- and transnational politics, proposes this definition: Accountability refers to relationships in which principals have the ability to demand answers from agents to questions about their proposed or past behavior, to discern that behavior, and to impose sanctions on agents in the event that they regard the behavior as unsatisfactory.

1 Defining the agent In the example used above for defining the core of accountability, an accountability relationship was created by one party entrusting money to another. If the agent that is thus created is an individual, it is obvious who can be held accountable for the correct use of the funds. In modern societies, though, many aspects of our political, economic and social lives are dominated by organisations. When it comes to holding organisations accountable, the question of who exactly is accountable can turn into a major problem.

One way to make the enforcement of sanctions more reliable is the creation or strengthening of enforcement institutions, such as state prosecution offices, disciplinary committees in institutions or control and evaluation units in donor organisations. Another way is to make sanctions more immediate and link them more directly to the agent’s behaviour. Thus, for example, managers’ salaries are now often directly tied to company performance. This means that sanctions and rewards are triggered automatically.

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Accountability in Public Policy Partnerships by J. Steets

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