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By J. Steets
Governments and foreign organisations more and more use public-private partnerships to bring crucial public items. This book presents a brand new version of responsibility which guarantees that those partnerships do not erode public responsibility. It defines concrete responsibility criteria for various different types of partnerships.
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Extra info for Accountability in Public Policy Partnerships
Secondly, accountability for results can refer to the way in which an organisation achieves its aims. The main question here is whether the organisation is efficient in its operations. Consumers, for example, can hold companies accountable for efficiency by choosing products that, at similar quality, are offered at a cheaper price. Comparison is more difficult in the public and civil society sectors. But donors, for example, increasingly use measures like the ratio of overhead costs to total budget as shorthand for efficiency.
This means that sanctions and rewards are triggered automatically. 5 When is the agent interested in strengthening accountability? We have now seen how accountability can be created or strengthened at each of the four steps involved in the basic accountability mechanism. Measures to improve accountability can be taken by both sides, the principal(s) and the agent. While it seems obvious why principals want to create strong The Concepts of Partnerships and Accountability 31 accountability (namely to align the agent’s behaviour as much as possible with their own interests and goals), it might not be so clear why an agent might be interested in strengthening his own accountability.
Since the activity takes place in an environment containing unpredictable developments which cannot be influenced by the agent, not all aspects of the agent’s behaviour can be predetermined in detail. 36 Because of these three elements – diverging goals, a situation of uncertainty and information asymmetry – a principal–agent relationship brings disadvantages to the parties involved. 37 To limit the negative impacts of principal–agent relationships – or, in other words, to improve the accountability of the agent to the principal – economists have focused their attention on two aspects of the relationship: the definition of sanctions and incentives to align the interests of agent and principal and the provision of information to reduce the principal’s monitoring costs.
Accountability in Public Policy Partnerships by J. Steets