Accountability: three dimensions to consider

Performance accountability
Defined as the mechanism by which individuals or organizations are held accountable for meeting specified expectations and targets. Performance accountability involves the setting of agreed targets, putting in place monitoring and reporting systems, regular reviews for improvements and rewards and penalties. Examples include performance-based incentives in Singapore and Government Performance Management System through Annual Performance Agreements (APAs) in Bhutan. 


Compliance accountability 
Defined as the responsibility to conform to a set of agreed laws, regulations, standards and values to ensure conduct that displays a high level of integrity, morality, fairness and transparency. Compliance accountability is ensured through the development of codes of conduct and ethical standards, service standards, operational rules and disciplinary regulations and the conduct of regular compliance audits. 

Operational accountability 
Concerning the functional responsibility of an agency to utilize public resources effectively in meeting its objectives. It also includes the ability to coordinate, collaborate, and plan. While operational accountability could be viewed as a subset of compliance accountability, it refers specifically to the implementation of good and innovative practices that promote the optimization and sustainable use of resources to maximize efficiency and minimize waste.