The Importance of Accountability

Topics: Government, Political corruption, Kevin Rudd Pages: 9 (3159 words) Published: March 1, 2014
This essay will seek to explore the importance of accountability in a world where no-one and everyone is in charge. There are many different types of accountability that apply to government each of which empathises a different value such as legal, political, professional, managerial, financial and so on (Boston and Gill, 2011). Whatever the type there is a fundamental requirement in a democratic system for accountability at all levels of government, so that they act in ways that are broadly approved by the community. After all, government organisations are created by the public, for the public, and need to be accountable to the public. Accountability within governments means that there is someone within an organisation who can accept ‘praise or blame for a particular decision or action (Hughes, 2003). This easy will explore the importance of government accountability and reveal the expectations of citizens. The Debelle Royal Commission 2013’ is the case study that is used in this essay; it reveals how simple procedural, communication and accountability failures by departmental staff can impact on the integrity of government departments.

ACCOUNTABILITY defines that accountability is the obligation of an individual or organisation to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.

A study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (A Measure of Australia’s Progress) in relation to people’s expectations in ‘Democracy, Governance and Citizenship Progress’ reveals that the wellbeing of society can depend on factors such as the fairness of our political system, the health of our democracy and the confidence that people have in government and public institutions. A healthy and stable democracy needs citizens who care and are willing to partake in shaping the common agenda of society. Public trust in government fragile, further evidence of public disharmony has been from the public opinion polls that have provided increasing evidence that citizens trust in politicians and government is in decline. The Australian Collaboration reports a growth in government ‘protest parties’ such as One Nation and the Australian Greens and political slogans such as ’Keep the Bastards Honest’ are all reactions to this mistrust. Better citizen engagement and participation procedures have been identified as measures that could reduce community anger and frustrations that promote benefits for both the citizens involved and the governments and authorities which serve them.

Accountability is essential to the good of government and is one of the cornerstone values of a democratic society; it has become an ever increasing and important factor for governments of the day. Corruption and integrity scandals are media sensations which have toppled the careers of politicians and government employees. It is therefore in the government’s interest that all levels of government promote standards of professionalism, accountability and transparency. Leaders of government are responding to the concerns and demands of citizens, this has been addressed by both the former and current Prime Ministers. In April 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stated in an address to senior executives and agency heads that the government’s agenda included “rebuilding a culture of accountability across all levels of government”. Prime Minister Rudd identified the need for public servants to meet the expectations of the community, he discussed seven future visionary elements for the public service, which included ‘strengthening the integrity and accountability of government’. Current Prime Minister Tony Abbott has pledged that his government will “restore strong, stable and accountable government”, with changes that will “simplify the management of government business, create clear lines of...

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Australian Bureau of Statistics – visited on line 03/11/13 16.00
1370.0 - Measures of Australia 's Progress, 2010  
LATEST ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010  
Bovens, M (2010) 'Two Concepts of Accountability: Accountability as a Virtue and as a Mechanism ', West European Politics, 33: 5, 946 — 967 (page 4)
CORBETT,D 1996 Australian Public Sector Management, 2nd edn, St Leonards, Allen & Unwin, pp196,197
DEBELLE ROYAL COMMISSION, 2012-2013, Report of Independent Education Inquiry
The Advertiser, July 05, 2013
The inside story of Danyse Soester – The woman who took on a dysfunctional system and won.
The Australian Collaboration. 2013. A more accountable government. [ONLINE] Available at: Website visited 9/11/13
The Australian Collaboration
WJP Rule of Law Index | The World Justice Project. 2013. WJP Rule of Law Index | The World Justice Project. [ONLINE] Available at: Website visited 17/11/2013
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