The Three Dimensions of Accountability

What role does accountability play in the relationship between an organisation and its constituents, and how can accountability support organisational resilience?

The core partners of the Resilient Roots initiative are aiming to examine whether organisations are better able to withstand external threats related to closing civic space when they are demonstrably accountable to the individuals and communities they support and serve. To explore this proposition, the core partners of the initiative are producing several case studies to articulate progress on the initiative so far.

This is the first of four case studies that the Resilient Roots initiative will be presenting. The first case study provides contextual background to the project, as well as identifying how the pilot partners have incorporated different primary constituent accountability mechanisms.

The case study unwraps the concept of accountability by focussing on the following three dimensions of accountability:

  • Giving Account: The sharing of information between organisations and their constituents through different platforms: meetings, brochures, newsletters, reports, radio, etc.
  • Taking Account: Actively listening to constituents’ needs and opinions through various means: hosting forums, surveying constituents, sparking conversations, providing evaluation sessions, etc.
  • Holding to Account: Enabling constituents to actively assess and question the organisation’s actions. This can be done to varying degrees with different mechanisms, such as advisory groups, grievance procedures, and complaints boxes.

This first case study further explores the three dimensions of accountability by providing concrete examples of how pilot partners around the world give account, take account, and hold to account.

Read the case study here!  

Future case studies will dig deeper into the challenges that the partner organisations face in using the different dimensions of accountability and the value they bring.