Accountability Works for You
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.
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.
Step 1 involves the establishment of a small project group to set out what you want to achieve;
Step 2 is a general, high-level evaluation of your current arrangements for accountability, transparency and involvement;
Step 3 allows you to explore in more detail cross-cutting themes that emerged in Step 2.
Step 4 involves the setting of an action plan and the monitoring of that plan in the future.
Because the framework is designed to encourage a "pick and mix" approach, allowing you to pick those particular 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, for whom the framework replaces our previous Scrutiny Self-Evaluation Framework).
We produced a final report, at the conclusion of the framework's development in June 2012, which sets out some of the key practical benefits that those who have used it so far have experienced.
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.
The piloting exercise
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.
What happens next?
We plan to review and refine the framework on a semi-regular basis, and to publish examples of its successful use by a range of different organisations.
For more information on the framework, and on how it can work for you and your organisation, please contact Ed Hammond on (020) 7187 7369 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated 25/7/12