Accountability means holding someone responsible for a thing. In modern-day societies, it is a value upheld in governmental institutions and among corporate bodies. Usually, the most typical form of responsibility is financial accountability, carried out by periodical audits.
However, it has been extended to other areas such as social and environmental activities. In line with this new development, a new form of reporting has been devised. The triple bottom line reporting type follows the usual traditional reporting system consisting of reports on economic, social and environmental practices. The second, which is regarded as a quadruple reporting technique, add cultural trends to the overall three impacts.
Whether a triple or quadruple reporting system, an organisation based in the Netherlands and GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) has established a widely accepted framework worldwide known as the “Comprehensive Reporting.” Reporting aids the formulations of policies based on records and helps keep historical data and information on trends and organisations’ activities for future reference.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics manages the comprehensive reporting system of Australia. They produce statistically-based records of financial practices such as the level of productivity and distribution of the national wealth; social services such as education, health and good governance and environmental issues such as biodegradation and landscape management.
Each government must be held accountable for its actions during its terms of office. It is a fulfilment of the government’s obligation towards its citizens. The government must give reports on how efficiently they have run all government sectors, from economic to law to the environment to education. An ideal reporting shows the business type, impacts and reporting approach utilised.
The process of holding government officials responsible is called political accountability, and it cuts across all societal impacts. Political accountability is inevitable because it
- Monitors the activities of the government and often enable them to act in the interests of the citizens
- Motivates rewards for excellent leadership
- It builds a certain degree of trust and confidence in the government.
- And it enhances transparency etc.
However, accountability does not guarantee solutions to many problems faced in government. One significant setback often associated with government and that negates the concept of responsibility is corruption. It means the misuse of government power and resources and includes embezzlement of funds and bribery.
Corruption, if not curtailed, can destroy the financial independence of a particular country. Therefore, most countries have devised various means to manage this evil practice. They include general emancipation, effective laws and policies, government reforms and accountability measures.
Accountability also has to do with the political structure, and the one who favours it the most is democracy. Australia operates a representative democracy that respects all fundamental human rights of people, the rule of law and the concept of separation of powers.
However, Australia has not achieved the peak of desirable democracy. First are equality and equity that underline the rule of law but seem impossible in the country’s treatment of the locals. Secondly, there is no clear-cut division of powers between the executive and the legislature since the ministers are appointed among the parliamentarians.
Lastly, it is essential to consider the sustainability of all policies formulated regarding government accountability.