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Home Policy Articles: Public Administration: Accountability


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A Management Accountability Framework for the Federal Public Service popular

This brief report is a summary of a roundtable hosted by the Public Policy Forum in May 2003 held to seek the advice of participants on the draft of the Management Accountability Framework developed by the Treasury Board Secretariat at the time.

Accountability and Risk Management in the Federal System popular

This report describes the discussions of a Public Policy Forum workshop held in April 2005. Leaders from the federal government, academia, the voluntary sector, and the private sector attended the workshop to explore the future of accountability in public service management as a result of changes announced in the federal budget and by the Treasury Board Secretariat.

Transparency, Trust and Citizen Engagement: What Canadians are Saying About Accountability popular

Abelson and Gauvin analyze the efforts of the federal government to improve accountability and measure its level of success based on public expectations in this area.

From Rhetoric to Reality: Protecting Whistleblowers in Alberta

According to Keith Archer, there is widespread agreement regarding the need to protect whistleblowers, however several issues must be resolved in the design of whistleblowing legislation in Alberta.

A Canada Strong and Free

In this policy paper, former Ontario Premier Mike Harris and former Reform Party leader Preston Manning argue that Canada is a country of great promise and opportunity. However, they contend Canada is being held back by an absence of national vision and ill-advised public policies.

A Time to Reap; Re-investing in Alberta's Public Services

This report advocates improving the many public service areas that were subject to budget cuts a decade ago in the interests of improving Alberta's debt. With extensive empirical evidence the study considers the advantageous position of Alberta's economy and financial situation as well as the social conditions that have been created by budget cutbacks. Finally this report points to a lack of accountability of government expenditures and makes recommendations to improve specific public services.

Accountability to Citizens in the Westminster Model of Government: More Myth than Reality

Stanbury argues that accountability is essential to what is meant by ‘democratic government.’ He contends the need for accountability flows from the delegation of authority and the exercise of discretion, coupled with the possibility that such authority will be used in ways not anticipated or approved. Stanbury notes that in a popular democracy citizens sit atop a complex accountability chain; accordingly, it must be determined how well a given democratic system serves those citizens.

Accounting for Gomery: The Money Links Between the Federal Government, Political Parties and Private Interests

This Digital Publication by Mark Mullins takes a new look at the Gomery inquiry and the deeper financial realities it revealed. To begin, Mullins states that the amounts of money and number of people involved in the sponsorship scandal are larger than previously known. Specifically, he cites 565 organizations and individuals this study found to be involved, compared to only 71 organizations originally cited in the 2003 Auditor General’s Report.

Addressing the Accountability Deficit: Why Paul Martin's Minority Government Must Pay More Attention to the Three A's

Axworthy argues that Canada’s first minority government in 25, and particularly the back-benchers, may significantly restore the overall influence of the House of Commons in executive policy-making.

Are Canadian Political Parties Empty Vessels? Membership, Engagement and Policy Capacity

This article analyzes the role played by political party members in Canada. William Cross and Lisa Young use the empirical evidence gathered by a survey of party members with the five major political parties, conducted in 2000, and find most to be dissatisfied with the roles they play.

Canada in Transition: Advice to the Next Prime Minister

This report, prepared by the Public Policy Forum (PPF) immediately before the change in leadership of the federal government in late 2003, examines a number of key issues pertaining to the future of Canada; the thinking was synthesized in this paper for the benefit of the incoming Prime Minister, Paul Martin. The Public Policy Forum surveyed members of the PPF itself, as well as senior level executives across the country, in order to gather the findings included in this report.

Cutting CPP Contributions: Let’s pop this trial balloon

The federal government has a plan to reduce Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions from employers and employees by putting some of the federal surplus directly into the program. According to Michael Prince, this idea will put our pension funds at risk.

Financing the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans

In his paper Michael Mendelson describes the financing policies of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP). The paper also includes a discussion of the organization and experience of the two plans’ investment boards.

From Rhetoric to Reality: Protecting Whistleblowers in Alberta

In this report Keith Archer discusses the act of whistleblwing and the many challenge that are involved with trying to protect whistleblowers. He explains that whistleblowing is generally used o refer to the disclosure of information which may be harmful to the public's interest. However this action raises concerns over employee loyalty, a need for anonymity, and the comprehensiveness of whistleblower protection. Archer then considers a number of whistleblowing regimes including ones in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Archer then focuses on Alberta's need for a whistleblower protection strategy.

Government Failure in Canada, 1997-2004: A Survey of Reports from the Auditor General

In this report, Clemens, Mullins, Veldhuis, and Glover argue that more public debate is required to address government limitations and failures. They argue that the reports of the Auditor General of Canada provide concrete evidence of the existence of government failure in Canada.

Governor-in-Council Appointments: Best Practices and Recommendations for Reform

Nancy Averill, Nicole Murphy and Susan Snider begin their article with some background information about Governor-in-Council (GIC) appointments. Much of the federal government’s work is delegated to some 170 agencies, boards, and commissions responsible for a wide range of activities.

How Does BC Rank on Openness and Accountability? The Government’s Approach to the Auditor General and Access to Information

Reynolds outlines two key features that ensure an open and accountable government in British Columbia: the Auditor General and Freedom of Information and Privacy Commissioner.

Managing for Results IV: Roundtable Summary Report

The central concern of Managing for Results IV, published by the Public Policy Forum, is how to improve the relevance of information in reports provided to Parliamentarians. The publication deals specifically with two Government of Canada reports: Canada’s Performance 2001, a discussion of Canadian quality of life issues as measured by societal indicators, and departmental reports provided by individual ministries to Parliament. To evaluate the effectiveness of these reports the Public Policy Forum engaged Members of Parliament (MPs) in a roundtable discussion; Managing for Results IV is the summary of this discussion.

Mapping Legislative Accountabilities

In this paper, Susan Zimmerman examines the question of “who is responsible for what” in Canadian health care legislation. While she addresses provincial, territorial, and federal legislation as it relates to health, she focuses on the provincial and territorial jurisdictions. The reason for this focus: to map how we frame accountability relationships within the health care system.

Ministerial Accountability: Suggestions for Reform

This brief report summarizes a roundtable proposed by Treasury Board President Reg Alcock and hosted by the Public Policy Forum in June 2004. The roundtable’s objective was to provide Mr. Alcock with guidance on the issue of Ministerial accountability.

Performance Measurement, Reporting and Accountability: Recent Trends and Future Directions

This paper by Dr. Paul Thomas seeks to understand why performance management is so attractive in theory, yest so difficult in practice. He discusses the many facets that make this topic so complex and finds ultimately that competing rationals and ideas of performance tend to complicate results.

Rethinking Political Parties: Discussion Paper

In an age of democratic renewal, Graham Fox argues that one of the key actors overlooked has been the political party.

Submission to the Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Actives

This brief paper, prepared by Imagine Canada, Canadian Council on Social Development, and Canadian Policy Research Networks, was written in in response to and invitation by the Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities for public input on what can be done to improve accountability in the Government of Canada. Specifically the paper emphasizes a need for caution in developing accountability measures so as to ensure that accountability measures do not excessively restrict worthy activities. The organizations involved in preparing this paper recommend refocusing accountability practices to better balance the need for financial controls, improve the process by which the Government is accountable to Canadians and utilize the non-profit sector as a link between citizens and their government.

Symposium on Accountability and Evaluation Systems in Complex Organizations

This report provides an overview and conclusions of the Symposium on Accountability and Evaluation Systems in Complex Organizations held in February 2005. Nicole Murphy argues that accountability and evaluation are complex concepts that incorporate measuring effectiveness, efficiency, and responsibility. Due to the number of stakeholders involved, issues of accountability can become very complex.

The Intersection of Governance and Citizenship in Canada: Not Quite the Third Way

Susan Phillips analyzes the now widely-accepted notion that the philosophy of governing in Canada “has shifted from one of new public management (NPM) to one of shared governance” (one which includes strong participation from the voluntary sector), and the model of citizenship that is supposed to accompany this philosophy.

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