11 March 2016

The Office of the Auditor-General has published Public sector accountability through raising concerns – a review of its 2014/15 work programme on Governance and Accountability.  The findings are generally complimentary about central government, noting that a  common commitment to transparency and accountability influences the special character of public management in New Zealand.

Public sector accountability is built on principles of transparency, integrity, and fairness. The OAG considers that accountability is critical to the trust between an individual and the State. Being accountable means public entities taking responsibility for their actions, openly reporting on what they do, providing specific information when asked, welcoming scrutiny, and being responsive when challenged. Trust and confidence flow from  the way people can raise concerns directly with the relevant public entity and if dissatisfied can ask an independent and appropriately accountable agency to look into their concerns. The review identified accountability functions across central government,  the interaction of agencies and those accountability functions and “about 400 different ways in which people can make a complaint or raise a concern”.

Trust and confidence flow from  the way people can raise concerns directly with the relevant public entity and if dissatisfied can ask an independent and appropriately accountable agency to look into their concerns. The review identified accountability functions across central government,  the interaction of agencies and those accountability functions and “about 400 different ways in which people can make a complaint or raise a concern”. Interestingly when there is increasing focus on the participation of civil society in Open Government, the review makes only one passing reference to the part it should play in public sector accountability.

According to the Auditor-General, “… we deserve our country’s relatively strong reputation for accountability and transparency. This is a tribute to the hard work and commitment of our politicians, public servants, the media, the accountability of public entities.”

Today also marks a different take on transparency.  On 11 March 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev took charge of the Kremlin.  He introduced glasnost – the policy of openness – and the perestroika political and economic reforms which in the face of growing nationalist movements, accelerated the unravelling of the Soviet Union.

 

www.oag.govt.nz/2016/accountability/docs/accountability.pdf

www.transparency.org.nz/docs/2013/Integrity-Plus-2013-Pillar-4-Public-Sector.pdf

http://siteresources.worldbank.org/PUBLICSECTORANDGOVERNANCE/Resources/AccountabilityGovernance.pdf

 

 

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