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Accountability in the Public Administration


1- introduction

Accountability ensures actions and decisions taken by public officials are subject to oversight so as to guarantee that government initiatives meet their stated objectives and respond to the needs of the community they are meant to be benefiting, thereby contributing to better governance and poverty reduction. ethics and accountability: ethics = self-accountability or inner check accountability = external check for individuals = internal check for the agency


Responsibility and accountability: The term responsibility is also often used synonymously with accountability, but its meaning should be differentiated. While accountability is based upon a hierarchical and external relationship, responsibility involves a more inward source of control being exercised over the actions of public servants. The definition of accountability is According, to McFarland, "accountability is the obligation of an individual to report formally to his superior about the work he has done to discharge the responsibility. Accountability is the foundation of any government process. The effectiveness of that process depends upon how those in authority account for the manner in which they have fulfilled their responsibility.

2- Why Accountability

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary (James Madison) Evaluating the ongoing effectiveness of public officials or public bodies ensures that they are performing to their full potential, providing value for money in the provision of public services, instilling confidence in the government and being responsive to the community they are meant to be serving. Public administrators must be held accountable because there are aspects of their jobs that can lead to misconception of public interest, corruption and even subversion.

1- misconception of public interest. There are several forces leads to the misconception; Social forces. Public administrators, especially in higher-level are likely to be heavily drawn from upper class or from the ranks of middle class. how people live? What their problems are? What they want and need? Public interest is an artifact of specialization. Public administrators tend to exaggerate the importance of what they do and downgrade the importance what the others do. For example the lawyers sometimes successfully defend individuals who they are guilty of horrible crimes. 2- corruption. Corruption can be defined as a betrayal of the public interest for reasons of private interest.

In public administration, corruption consider a phenomenon and limitations on the ability of public administrative systems to accomplish the tacks assigned to them.

3- subversion. Public administrators might also betray their public trust by engaging in subversion. This has been a serious fear many times in United States history, particularly in wartime. only a few points should be noted: hard to find. Its actual damage to the public interest is considerable. Todays global competition, ecnomic subversion is a growing concern.

3- The ideal of responsibility

Responsibility means that people want to see the government as responsive, flexible, fair, accountable, honest and competence. Responsibility imply values such as; responsiveness fairness, flexibility, honesty, accountability and competence. 1- Responsiveness. Responsiveness means that government does more than merely react to popular demand. It also can mean that government takes the initiative in the proposal of solutions for problems. A responsive government must invent processes to determine demands Survey data. Town meeting. Focus group and others. 2- Fairness. Fairness is adherence to due process which means an assurance that the government will be administrated by law. To ensure that citizens have to a chance to present their cases and be heard fairly. "Wherever Law ends, Tyranny begins" (John Locke) 3- flexibility

3- Flexibility. Philip Howard argues that regulation has become disconnected from the people who must enforce and live with it. the problem has its roots in the noble but misguided principle that reason can be achieve through uniform rules that anticipate every conceivable circumstance. these rules have had the perverse effect of eliminating common sense from the equation. in the formulation and implementation of policy, administrators should not ignore individuals groups local concern, or situational differences relevant to the attainment of policy goals.

4- honesty. honesty is transparency and ethical behaviors which breeds trust in the society. Transparency is making information available to the public in open. It is against secrecy. 5- competence. Obviously, is a qualification and ability to get the work done efficiency and effectively

6- accountability. Accountability means answerability. An organization should be answerable to someone or some institutions outside itself when things go wrong like, question time in parliament. Some one must be held responsible.

4- External controls for accountability

There are various measures can be taken to ensure responsiveness, fairness, flexibility, honesty, accountability and competence. 1- legislative controls. Legislative controls also known as the watchdog functions of political and legislative oversight. And this is the most effective control on bureaucracy. parliament investigate on administrative error, scandal and irresponsible behavior. if possible the obligation to correct behavior through certain powers which include: - the power to create and organize agency. - the power to control activities through legislations. Question time for minister in parliament when the members of parliament direct questions to ministers about their performance Ombudsman is has the power to investigate citizens complains and recommend to parliament take an appropriate actions.

2- Judiciary review on administrative action. The administrative process is the process in general and judicial review in particular are designed to prevent irresponsible behavior by government agencies. The relationship between the police and the judiciary. Cops consider the hand of the judiciary to apply its decisions. Cops preserve peoples freedoms, rights and entitlement involved in the constitution and the law. They are responsible for the implementation of the law and consider the legal action of law and constitutions. The cops are particularly interested in areas where the civil services have the power of administration in tribunal.

3- Executive controls. Such as purely administrative control agency measuring the performance and legality of actions for example personal services department control personal practices in the civil services. attorney general who usually has legal advisers in civil services organization is responsible for legality of the decisions


How to exercise the executive controls? - Set the standards laws. - measure performance, honesty, efficiency and legality. - disclose deviations. - select corrective measures.

4- popular controls. Popular controls which are controlled by citizens on the civil service for example popular committee and community organization or local government council. Through press. Obviously the government has to guarantee the freedom and the right of publication. Therefore they have to give the people full access to information about the process of the civil services. public interest pressure group such as consumer organization, environmental NGO, human rights groups and public opinion organization.