6.1.1 Government and Accountability - Introduction


Welcome to the sixth topic of this module guide - Government and Accountability! The rule of law requires that all be subject to the law, even the government or executive. The executive is comprised, not just of the political executive (or government), but also includes civil servants; the government can also confer public law powers on other bodies to carry out public functions. There are three mechanisms for accountability that include legal, political and administrative methods. Scrutiny comes from parliament, the judiciary and the electorate. Parliament and its MP's have the responsibility to hold the executive to account and to determine whether they should support government policy and legislative agenda. Judicial scrutiny of the executive is a fundamental principle of the rule of law. The government and public bodies are also accountable through private law. The Electorate has a legal right to choose parliamentary representatives every five years.

At the end of this section, you will be able to identify various accountability mechanisms. This section begins by discussing the accountability of the Executive. It then proceeds to discuss pre-legislative and post-legislative scrutiny of the Executive. The section is finalised by a reform discussion and a freedom of information whereby it advances transparency and openness in public bodies and if there are abuses of power being carried out, freedom of information has the ability to reveal these problems. There is an important public interest in freedom for information, but non-disclosure may at times be in the public interests.

Goals for this section:

  • To understand what is accountability of government.
  • To appreciate pre-legislative and post-legislative Scrutiny of the Executive.

Objectives for this section:

  • To be able to appreciate how government is held accountable.
  • To understand the reform’s discussion.
  • To be able to evaluate the whole area of government accountability.

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