Accountability in Public Policy Partnerships by J. Steets

By J. Steets

Governments and foreign companies more and more use public-private partnerships to convey crucial public items. This book presents a brand new version of responsibility which guarantees that those partnerships do not erode public responsibility. It defines concrete responsibility criteria for various kinds of partnerships.

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52 Secondly, agents are accountable for using their resources efficiently and effectively. Those who provide an organisation with resources usually want to ensure the agent uses them in the best way for reaching the desired goals. In the private sector, return on investment is a common measure for establishing whether resources were well used. In the public and civil society sectors, similar measures are usually more difficult to find. Thirdly, the way an agent handles resources can be under scrutiny.

65 The case becomes even more complex when different principals with diverging interests and expectations exist. 67 Despite their best intentions, they can be subject to sanctions from various sides. To avoid sanctions, the agent can create transparency about which expectations exist and how she balances or prioritises them, hoping for understanding and approval from the principals. Alternatively, she can attempt to make the principals (or at least some of them) to agree on a coherent set of objectives among themselves.

73 The situation is presented as a simple game involving two steps. Agent A can either pursue his own or the principal’s interest. Principal P can either apply sanctions to A or not. The payoff structure (payoff A, payoff P) shows that the optimal outcome from the perspective of the agent is ‘pursue A’s interests’ and ‘no sanction’. 4 The principal’s and agent’s interest in accountability 32 Accountability in Public Policy Partnerships by contrast, has a strong preference for the agent to pursue P’s interests.

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