Accountability in Public Policy Partnerships by J. Steets

By J. Steets

Governments and foreign enterprises 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 forms of partnerships.

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Secondly, accountability for results can refer to the way in which an organisation achieves its aims. The main question here is whether the organisation is efficient in its operations. Consumers, for example, can hold companies accountable for efficiency by choosing products that, at similar quality, are offered at a cheaper price. Comparison is more difficult in the public and civil society sectors. But donors, for example, increasingly use measures like the ratio of overhead costs to total budget as shorthand for efficiency.

From the perspective of the agent, the situation is slightly more complex. His first instinct is probably to try to weaken accountability so that he can pursue his own interests without incurring any sanctions. Two considerations, however, can change this calculus. Firstly, the principal is probably only willing to engage in this game at all or to play it again if she sees a reasonable chance that the agent will pursue P’s interests. 74 Secondly, the agent also has a strong motivation to avoid a situation where he does his best to act in the principal’s interests, but gets sanctioned nevertheless.

56 Accountability for results: Perhaps the most obvious aspect that organisations are held to account for are the outcomes or results of their work. This includes firstly which goals an organisation pursues. Take, for example, an advocacy NGO that claims to represent the interests of indigenous people and seeks to stop the construction of a dam on their behalf. The group of indigenous people may actually disagree and try to hold the NGO accountable for its goals. Similarly, citizens hold governments accountable for the goals they pursue by endorsing or rejecting proposed policies in elections.

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