The concept that individuals, agencies and organisations (public, private and civil society) are held responsible for reporting their activities and executing their powers properly. It also includes the responsibility for money or other entrusted property. (source: Transparency International)
A duty to be accountable can be discharged in different ways, but all accountability mechanisms operate according to THREE principles:
- Transparency: It requires that decisions and actions are taken openly and the sufficient information is available so that other agencies and the general public can assess whether the relevant procedures are followed, consonant with the given mandate.
- Answerability: An obligation on the part of decision makers to justify their decision publicly so as to substantiate the they are reasonable, rational, and within their mandate.
- Controlability: refers to mechanisms in place to sanctions, actions and decisions that run counter to given mandate and procedures – often referred to as a system of checks and balances or enforcement mechanisms.