An accountability framework makes roles, responsibilities, and expectations clear, supporting the availability of reliable and timely reports about intended and actual results.
Some of the purposes of the accountability framework for new initiatives are to outline both the “ownership of responsibilities” relating to that initiative as well as plans for information gathering, monitoring and reporting.
An accountability framework will describe the initiative, its rationale (i.e., logic model), purpose and intended results, and how its performance will be monitored and whether or not an evaluation is planned. This focus on performance measurement and program evaluation will encourage results-based management and decision making and establish a basis for objective assessment of the progress of an initiative and whether it is achieving its intended results. It will help ensure there is a clear and logical design that ties resources and activities to expected results and that the roles and responsibilities of those delivering the initiative are clearly outlined. Indicating how and when you will be measuring and evaluating performance lets government executive know that information will be available on which to assess progress and success of the initiative or to determine if adjustments and modifications are required.
An example of an accountability framework, drawn from the guidance of the Cabinet Secretariat of the Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, is included below as a sample.
The above example of an accountability framework contains the following information:
Purpose of the initiative: includes who are the program’s clients, what services the program will deliver, and why the program has been established.
Clients/beneficiaries: includes an identification of the group(s) which the initiative is intended to benefit, including an indication of the key socio-economic and other characteristics of the target group.
Primary stakeholders: includes an identification of key departments or external organizations interests in the client group and proposed initiative and the nature of their interest.
Accountabilities: includes roles and responsibilities of the department and other partners involved in the delivery of the program or service, and for collaborative arrangements, how the relationship will be managed, how decisions will be made, and what processes will be used to ensure performance of partners.
Logic model: includes a depiction of the program or service, showing what it will do and what it will accomplish, including activities undertaken, outputs (the direct products of the activities) and the outcomes (be they immediate, intermediate, or ultimate).
Indicators and targets: the quantitative or qualitative measure for all indicators and targets noted in the appropriate sections of the logic model.
Performance monitoring plan: includes an identification of how often performance monitoring reports will be developed, by whom, who will receive them, and how they will be used. Performance measurement is an ongoing quantitative and qualitative process used to ascertain how well (or how poorly) a government program is being provided.
Evaluation plan: includes planned formative evaluations (used to provide information on how to improve the policy/service, on the basis of process; the goal of the evaluation is to improve performance) and summative evaluations (used to provide information on how to improve the policy/service on the basis of product or outcome; the goal of such an evaluation is to determine whether the initiative should change, continue, etc.).
Drawn from Provincial Government Programs, Cabinet Secretariat, Executive Council (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador), Developing an Accountability Framework: Resource and Reference Guide, at http://www.policynl.ca/policydevelopment/documents/AF-Aug-Final-Version.pdf, accessed 25 January 2016.
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Page created by: Dave Marshall, last modified by Ian Clark on 31 May 2016.
Image: From Provincial Government Programs, Cabinet Secretariat, Executive Council (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador), Developing an Accountability Framework: Resource and Reference Guide, at http://www.policynl.ca/policydevelopment/documents/AF-Aug-Final-Version.pdf, accessed 25 January 2016.