By J. Steets
Governments and overseas 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 different types of partnerships.
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78 By agreeing to common decision-making procedures, partners also delegate some authority to partnerships. This stretches the accountability links to the partners’ original accountability holders and thus weakens their control over outcomes. If the partnership does not have appropriate accountability mechanisms in place to compensate for this accountability loss, a political backlash against its activities can be expected. At the same time, partnerships are often created to address accountability problems of the partner organisations.
4 How is accountability created or strengthened? The definition of accountability proposed above contained a description of the basic mechanism through which accountability works. An agent behaves in a certain way. Information about these activities is used by the principal to evaluate the agent’s behaviour. Depending on whether or not the behaviour conforms to the principal’s expectations, she will apply sanctions to control the agent’s activities, thus establishing what could be termed ‘retroactive accountability’.
First, there is a range of authors who see a positive effect. Thus, for example, Melvin Dubnick quotes numerous sources and describes the ‘promise of performance’ as follows: According to proponents of accountability-centered reforms, enhanced accountability will (among other things) result in […] improvements in the quality of government services. (Dubnick, 2003, p. 1) This view is contradicted by those who see a conflict between accountability and performance. Peter Self described this dilemma as a central one: [T]he tensions between the requirements of responsibility or ‘accountability’ and those of effective executive action can reasonably be described as the classic dilemma of public administration.
Accountability in Public Policy Partnerships by J. Steets