Accountability is at the core of what advocacy should do. Transparency provides information for active people to ask those responsible for public decisions about the rationale behind their decisions. Accountability requires public decision-makers to assume responsibility for their decisions
Accountability is an important factor in securing good governance and bestowing legitimacy on governments and public decision-makers Accountability.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 2007. Answers.com February 26, 2007. http://www.answers.com/topic/accountability
According to Miller (1997 Accountability.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 2007. Answers.com February 26, 2007. http://www.answers.com/topic/accountability ) advocacy groups should pay attention to two types of accountability: public accountability and internal accountability
Public accountability is what advocacy efforts do towards powerful public or private institutions whose decisions affect people’s lives. Public accountability occurs towards local, national, or international public or private institutions (e.g., banks and oil corporations). Organizations should hold public (and private) institutions accountable, Miller notes, beyond the issuance of decisions into following up on the implementation of such decisions.
Miller presents the following questions that advocacy groups could ask public institutions and corporations.
We often hear of NGOs, CSOs, and coalitions that hold public institutions and corporations accountable for their decisions and actions. At the same time, many of these organizations do not make themselves accountable enough to their members and the public. Internal accountability of these groups is critically important for their power, credibility, and legitimacy
Miller suggests the following questions about internal accountability for advocacy groups and coalitions:
Questions that can help groups address issues of alliance and organizational accountability include:
● Who makes what kinds of decisions in the coalition or organization?
● How transparent and open is that decision-making process?
● To whom is leadership accountable once those decisions are made?
● For what are they accountable?
● What are the mechanisms by which they are or can be held accountable? For example – by periodic elections, annual performance reviews, etc.?
● How are members and constituents involved in the campaigning and kept informed?
● How can we improve our internal accountability?