By Paola Mattei (auth.)
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Additional resources for Restructuring Welfare Organizations in Europe: From Democracy to Good Management?
On the contrary, political accountability is characterized by low degree of control over administrative actions (Romzek and Dubnick, 1987), which leaves ample discretion to civil servants. This feature embraces a wider definition of political accountability, which I refer as ‘public’, which includes interest groups, constituencies and a broad range of accountability holders beyond elected officials. The basis for public accountability between constituents and representatives is ‘responsiveness’, as the main mechanism of managing multiple expectations.
Thus, it means how voters can make elected representatives answer for their actions, how legislators can scrutinize the executive and how the public can seek redress from government agencies and officials. One of the most fundamental elements of ‘core’ accountability is its external dimension. This is fully in line with one of the conditions of democratic governance and popular sovereignty, namely the ‘visibility’ criteria, as emphasized by Schattschneider (1975). I will come back to this point later in the book, as it is crucial for the reorganization of welfare service bureaucracies.
Thirdly, the cross-national and cross-sectoral variations of the actual configurations of the relationship between political and managerial accountability, as reflected in new organizational arrangements of delivery, trigger the wider question about the convergence or divergence ‘towards’ predominantly technocratic-managerial welfare organizational forms. Are we witnessing a definite shift away from political-representative types of welfare organizations, with clear lines of accountability running from managers to elected politicians, towards mainly functionally driven and technocratic accountability, legitimated by ‘customer satisfaction’, rather than democratic accountability?