The recent trend to devolved and decoupled governance has raised issues of accountability. Are networks of independent actors and agencies more or less accountable than traditional government hierarchies under political control? The same question has long been posed of federations versus unitary systems. Accountability itself is a contested term with different versions placing more or less emphasis on external scrutiny versus internal responsibility and on rectification. Networks are stronger in the communicative stages of accountability (information and discussion) provided that the networks themselves are open and transparent. Hierarchies, however, offer better prospects of rectification, being less prone to buck-passing, provided that the head (as in ministerial responsibility) is personally accountable for exercising the obligations of collective accountability.
|Publication status||Published - 2003|