User Tools

Site Tools


Accountability versus Transparency

An area requiring further study is around the conceptual confusion that exists around transparency and accountability.

The key question here is: are mechanisms that promote transparency (for example, improving access to information) interchangeable with the overall objective of accountability?

Recent discussion around this has highlighted the danger that, where the mechanism is mistaken as an objective in itself, it obscures what steps should be taken after transparency mechanisms are established. This debate raises a number of other key questions:

- Should accountability be inferred – i.e. from the impact of collective action – or independently measured?

- Is it sufficient to improve service delivery without institutionalising accountability mechanisms – for example, where political mobilisation around improving the delivery of a service removes (in the short term) the need for social accountability?

- When those who initially drove social accountability become service providers themselves – for example, NGOs – (how) can responsibility for social accountability mechanisms be transferred?

The Importance of Context

Recent studies of social accountability mechanisms have paid increasing attention to the current lack of understanding of how individual accountability tools work within different contexts and which contextual factors can either enable or disable different tools.

Please see this brief discussion on the theory of how context affects social accountability.

trends_in_social_accountability.txt · Last modified: 2018/12/12 16:38 (external edit)