Mechanisms of Accountability in Local Government: An Exploratory Study

Ron Kluvers, John Tippett


This exploratory, empirical study is an attempt to understand the perception of accountability within Victorian
local government. Important governance developments have emerged in recent years, changing the context of
public decision-making. It is timely to study public sector accountability in this changing context.
Data were collected from 78 Victorian municipalities. A survey instrument was distributed to councillors and
managers, with survey statements eliciting participants’ understanding of the operation of accountability. Using
factor analysis, four factors were generated that revealed the items councillors and managers perceive to be the
important elements of accountability.
Whilst respondents’ views of accountability were generally in accordance with the literature, new aspects were
discovered. For example, an individual’s attitude towards accountability and managing the accountability
relationship was shaped by their values. The literature has not previously explored this facet of individual values.

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