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Accountability

Accountability

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Published by arifeen_091
its all about accountability in government .
its all about accountability in government .

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Published by: arifeen_091 on Aug 26, 2009
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01/09/2013

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Accountability
In Bangladesh the assumption in the context of democracy, is that the civilservants work for the people. But the problem of locating accountabilitytherefore becomes acute because of the nature of the job performed andpower exercised by the civil servants. Today they are no longer confined to thejob of implementing the policies and executing the laws framed by thelegislature. Now they consciously make laws and even adjudicate laws. In factthe laws made by the legislature lay down only the broad objectives, and thetask of providing the details of making rules, regulations and bye-laws forfilling up the gaps left in the legislation, is given to the administrators in orderto facilitate the process of executing the laws. Thus, “the problem of keepingwatch over the execution of laws has today grown into the more complex taskof exercising control over policy formulation and policy implementation. Themeaning of the concept of administrative accountability has, therefore, beenexpanded and consequently its dimensions have increased.”
 
These days variousexpressions like responsiveness, responsibility, accountability and control areused to ensure the subservience of public servants.The word
Responsiveness
means “the state of being responsivei.e.answering or replying. In Bangladesh the citizens expect civil servants to beresponsive to their requests and demands. A citizen who asks something of agovernment has the right to expect a response and to be treated as alegitimate source of demands. In fact responsiveness is a proceduralrequirement for good government.The other word
Responsibility
implies that the civil servants will adhere tothe explicit and implicit values of proper administration and policy. Responsiblepublic servants know the law and have convictions about the properadministration of their programmes. Expertise and law thus become central tothe working of civil service.Administrative accountability generally means making the civil servantsanswerable for their actions. Administrative accountability has to beunderstood in relation to making of public policies and their implementation. Itmeans accountability of those administrators who in some ways or the othercontribute to the decision making process. And this accountability is to thepolitical system as a whole. In general, the public officials are found to beguilty of non-feasance, malfeasance and overfeasance.
-Nonfeasance
means that civil servants have not done what law or customrequires them to do owing to laziness, ignorance or want of care for theircharges or corrupt influence.
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-Malfeasance
means that a duty is carried out with waste and damage becauseof ignorance, negligence and technical incompetence.
-Overfeasance
occurs when a duty is undertaken beyond what law and customoblige empower---it may occur out of dictatorial temper, vanity or genuinepublic spirited zeal.The public officials must be held accountable for any of these three activities.
TOOLS OF ADMINISTRATIVE ACCOUNTABILITY 
It is necessary and essential in the interest of democracy as well as efficiencyand effectiveness that good and proper tools or controls to check civil servantsmust be devised, generally controls are of two types
external andinternal
. According to Prof. Finer, the best way to enforce accountability is todevelop institutions that vigorously monitor the actions of public bureaucracyand punish those guilty of maladministration. In the absence of other controls,such as profit motive, policy makers must monitor the performance of publicadministrators via formal mechanisms.
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Among the two controls executives responsibility to the legislature, legislativesurveillance, judicial review, audit system, financial advisory system inministries, judicial system, ombudsman etc. are examples of 
external
formalcontrols. The
internal
controls of formal type are secured throughorganizational devices like hierarchy supervision, control, span of control, unityof command, inspection, tours etc. These are in practice, reinforced andsupplemented by informal external devices such as mass media, politicalparties, interest groups, political and electoral process, Comptroller andAuditor General (CAG) etc. existing in the society. Beside this on the otherhand, Carl Friedrich opines that inculcation of appropriate values amongadministrators serves as the major check on the bureaucracy.
 
Forms of accountability :
Accountability although has many facetsbut they are inter-related. It may be formal i.e. institutionalized or informali.e. democratic and ethical. Accountability may also take the forms likepolitical accountability, administrative accountability, legislativeaccountability, judicial accountability etc.
Ways to ensure accountability :
In addition to the formalstructures and informal modes prevalent in different nations to enforce
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accountability in public service, a few more are suggested by scholars. Some of them are as follows :1.
Representative Bureaucracy :
In order to ensure thatadministrators remain responsive to the needs of the people, some scholarshave pointed to the potential importance of representative bureaucracy. In factthis view holds that democracy will be served if bureaucrats mirror certain keycharacteristics of society. This view was first developed by
Kingsley
whichgrew out of recognition of the inadequacy of the traditional legal institutionalcontrols for insuring administrative accountability in a modern state.2.
Positive Content :
Administrative accountability must be impartedpositive content. In Bangladesh at present accountability is devalued. It mustbecome sensitive to reward and punishment and must not remain one-sided asit is now.3.
Administrative reforms :
Administrative accountability isperformance and efficiency based and result oriented, so in a responsiblesystem of government rules and procedures must be simplified to enable publicservants to avoid delays caused by unnecessary procedures. Thus delegation,decentralization, devolution and deconcentration are vital to accountability. Sois the need for reform in personnel administration, especially training,placement, promotion, performance appraisal etc. Infact administrative reformis among the pre-requisites to a system of effective accountability.4.
Innovative Practices
:
Today innovative practices like sun-setlegislation, freedom of Information Act, Citizens Charter etc. should beadopted to enhance accountability. In brief the concept of sun-set legislationimplies that rules and regulations should be made for limited periods, and afterthe expiry of that period the laws or rules should cease to operate unlessrenewed. This will also necessitate review of rules and regulations periodicallyto check their continued validity. Accountability demands openness in theconduct of public business. The citizen charters are not expounding new legalrights or obligations but rather stipulating existing rights and detailing goodpractice, which exists in some cases and should, in the government’s view bethe norm.5.
Public Participation :
The direct involvement of public in theadministrative process constitutes one of the major efforts to enforceadministrative accountability. Generally in developing countries like Bangladeshpublic participation consists of three ways that is :(a) Consultation throughout the planning process,(b) Public representation on decision-making boards; and(c) Community control over funds and expenditure.
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