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Principles of Accountability PDF Print E-mail

Accountability is about the processes through which an organisation makes a commitment to respond to and balance the needs of stakeholders in its decision-making processes and activities, and delivers against this commitment. Organisations that focus on accountability find that it leads to increased credibility and legitimacy with stakeholders, stronger governance structures and increased organisational learning and innovation.


The Global Accountability Project Framework provides an overview of what is important if organisations are to improve their accountability to stakeholders. It can be used by organisations to increase their accountability and by stakeholder groups to advocate for accountability reform in organisations that affect them.


The concept of stakeholder is central to the understanding of accountability and underpins the entire GAP Framework. Stakeholders are individuals and groups that can affect or are affected by an organisation’s policies and/or actions.


The GAP Framework unpacks accountability into four dimensions: transparency, participation, evaluation, and complaint and response mechanisms. These enable an organisation to give an account to, take account of, and be held to account by, stakeholders. An organisation needs to integrate all four dimensions of accountability into its policies, procedures and practice, at all levels and stages of decision-making and implementation and in relation to all key stakeholders.


The One World Trust recognises that a one-size-fits-all approach to accountability is not possible. Approaches will differ between organisations, within organisations, and depending on the issue, context and stakeholders involved. However, there are common factors across all sectors that must be incorporated in order for an organisation to be accountable to its stakeholders. It is these common factors that are outlined in the GAP guidelines.



Related documents and activities:




  • Have a look at our Resources section for examples of other initiatives and approaches aiming to promote the accountability of IGOs, TNCs and NGOs, and an annotated bibliography providing an overview of the fast-moving accountability debate with respect to the four dimensions and cross-sectoral approach of the GAP Framework.




Click here to view all publications for this project




For more information about this project, please contact Michael Hammer

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