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Concepts of accountability and control

ACCOUNTABILITY – Accountability is to take complete responsibility by a person or an organisation for what he/she or the organisation did or failed to do (which was their duty) and must be able to give a satisfactory reason for it and the use of authority entrusted in them to carry out that responsibility. It is to check whether a work was done or not and Accountabilty as a process is performed after the work is completed or is supposed to have been completed.

Civil servants though not directly accountable to the People or their representatives but they are Vigilance authorities and Ombudsman in all organisations to keep a tab on them and also they are indirectly accountable for their action/exercise of authority to the people through the political executive(who are answerable to the Houses of Parliament for their Ministries) and Courts of Law.
If there is no accountablility then the civil servants would turn in to despots(unfair/cruel rulers),arbitrary and corrupt.

RESPONSIBILITY – A job or duty that a person is entrusted with in order to perform and complete them.

AUTHORITY – The legal right to control.

CONTROL – The contemporaneous mechanisms to check whether work is being done and done in the proper manner as specified on time is Control. It is carried on simultaneously while work is being done through its various forms which will be discussed below.

Accountability happens after the job is complete or when some work has been done whereas control is performed simultaneously as the work is being done,side by side.

Types Of Accountability & Control:

1) Internal Control & Accountability : It is a part of the Administrative Machinery and work automatically and spontaneously with the movement of the machinery as self regulating devices and act as brakes in an automobile.
It comprises of –
a) Budgetary control – Every department and official is given information about the amount of funds they have and they have to perform within it,if it goes overboard then they are accountable. These funds are passed by the Parliament/Legislature through voting and is not easy to get and once they are used they are audited by the CAG and the Finance Ministry sanctions funds to the departments and Ministries once Parliament passes it.

b) Personnel Management Control- Every official is made aware of his rank,grade and salary and there are rules and regulations that govern the work conditions and conduct of the personnel and if that is not followed and then a pre-prescribed punishment is meted out.

c) Organisational and Method/Management Control- Regular inspections are done and requisite training is provided to officials for efficient execution of their responsibilities.
d) Administrative Ethics and Professional standards – Moral and accepted beliefs of behaviour are promoted amongst officials.

e) Leadership- Leadership acceptance increases with an increase in hierarchy and position and that is encouraged to keep the motivation and morale of officials going. It should not be seen only in the negative light of a control mechanism for irrational patterns of individual’s employees’ activities but as a positive mechanism of harmonising individual’s activities into rational patterns.

2) External Control & Accountability: 
The controls within the constitutional machinery e.g. Legislative control,executive control,Judicial control. Public control through media, interest groups, voluntary organizations,Civil society,Citizen’s Charters,Right to Information,Social audit.are also a form of external control.
A thing to note is that external and internal controls are not exclusive categories but are interdependent and complement and supplement each other.

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