centre for public scrutiny

Promoting the value of scrutiny and accountability
in modern and effective government

Accountability works for you

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Accountability Works For You is a focused and proportionate way to improve the way you make decisions, and how you respond to and plan for transformation and change

The Centre for Public Scrutiny has applied the learning from its "Accountability Works" research to the creation of a new and straightforward way to evaluate and improve your governance arrangements, and make your organisation more responsive to change.

We've set out some of the key themes in a short introductory brochure which you can download here.

The "Accountability Works For You" framework is designed to be proportionate, relevant and to focus on culture and attitudes, rather than process. It is based on robust evidence about the way that accountability, transparency and involvement should work in public services, and is sufficiently flexible to apply to any body delivering a public service.

The framework leads you through some straightforward steps, posing questions that will help you and the people who use your services to tease out some of your most significant challenges, and focus on achievable ways to improve. It is designed to allow you to pick those elements of your governance arrangements that you want to look at in the most detail, or that are most relevant to your organisation. This means that you are in control throughout, using the framework as a way to explore how you do business, not as a formulaic tick-box exercise.

It also means that the framework can be amended and used by any organisation - large or small, public, private or third sector. The only requirement is that the organisation is involved in delivering services to the public in some way.

Where can I find more information?

You can download the full methodology here. We have also produced a variant of the methodology to cover local government overview and scrutiny functions to meet the specific needs of local government practitioners.

How can we help?

The Accountability Works For You framework can be used by any organisation on its own, or with our assistance. We have published the full methodology, which in itself should give you enough information to use it yourself without any outside assistance.

However, we do suggest that a level of external assurance is needed.

This could take the form of an independent ear to check your findings and with whom to consult at key points, someone to carry out part of the work on your behalf to ensure that the findings of that process are robust, or even someone to take on the management and evidence-gathering for the whole exercise. We can provide this assistance with the support of our Expert Adviser Team, a group of highly experienced current and former professionals with a detailed knowledge of accountability issues in the context of service delivery. Please see our scale of fees and charges for more information on how we can assist.

Development information

We piloted the framework with a number of organisations over 2011/12. In June 2011, we produced an interim report, itemising the lessons that we had learned so far, and which influenced the interim version of the methodology. The interim report can be downloaded here. The framework will be reviewed and refined on a semi-regular basis to ensure that it reflects the way it has been used by practitioners. There is no set timetable for doing this.

Last updated 12/9/13