‘Accountability’ can mean different things to different people. There are many ways of encouraging it. The overriding theme is to make sure we work as effectively as possible to achieve our mission, strategy, goals and objectives. All accountability measures should serve this purpose.
Oversight is important where it helps keep things moving in the right direction. Audits, evaluations and assessments are worthwhile if they are used to identify and fix weaknesses, and promote best practice.
Regular performance appraisals, regardless of our position or function, help us grow.
Civil society and non-government organisations with charitable or public interest goals receive special scrutiny when it comes to accountability.This can also based on accepted standards of ethical behaviour and best practice in society at large. Making use of the best tools and processes available to track, analyse, discuss and improve our work goes to the heart of who we are.
Participation and Partnerships
Partnerships are our preferred way of operating, enabling us to work to our strengths and build a sense of ownership and shared responsibility for outcomes. Participation should be authentic and programmes should be launched with clear mechanisms to inform, consult, engage and process feedback and complaints from the communities they work in. Incitāre uses an analytical framework based around relationships to showcase how an organisation’s partnerships are working.
Reflection and Learning
Reflection and learning processes help us identify what has worked well. We can then share and spread successful approaches. They also give us the information necessary to make decisions about when to change course if something isn’t working. An integrated and systematic approach to audit, evaluation and other forms of assessment is needed for effective reflection and learning. The stronger the systems in place at the national and regional level, the lighter the verification burden.
Transparency refers to our willingness to share information,both internally and externallyabout the way we approach our work, our activities and our performance. It affirms our commitment to honestly assess our performance, promote best practice and fix things that go wrong, as well as to learn from colleagues, partners and peer organisations.
Despite the progress made in recent years with improvements in performance management, it is hard to escape the fact that much of what is measured is neither relevant nor useful if there is disagreement regarding the underlying theory of change or purpose.
Notwithstanding recent improvements in global corporate reporting to demonstrate a commitment to doing less harm and psychometric analysis for team and rapport building, negotiation and peacebuilding skills to better manage ‘conflicting interests’, within and between organisations and across sectors and disciplines, if our goal is restoration and transformation, it is clear that something more will be needed to explain and incentivise the shifts that are likely to be needed and to direct resources to new ways of doing business.
Through its emphasis on the quality of the relationship ratther than its product, the approach developed by Relational Analytics represents an important step towards conversations about the beliefs and values that underpin the systems, narratives and metaphors that so powerfully inhibit authentic application of theories of change that reflect a rights-based approach and prioritise appreciative inquiry, participatory development and accountability to affected populations.