This project looks at how democratic accountability in government can be improved. The public must be kept informed about the services government provides and have the opportunity for redress when things go wrong. This is fundamental to the relationship between a government and its citizens. 

Ensuring accountability in public services has traditionally focused on holding government representatives to account and sanctioning their poor performance. Yet accountability can’t be a blame game alone. Effective accountability should provide support and reward for success while fostering learning and risk-taking.

Our work reviews the strengths and weaknesses of existing systems of public accountability, and how they deal with the legitimate concerns of voters, taxpayers, residents and users of public services. 

This project has resulted in a discussion paper published in April 2018. Later in 2018, a final report will outline recommendations for change. We are extremely grateful to all those who have shared their insights with us: especially our Advisory Group, Sir David Bell, Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Jacqui McKinlay, Dame Julie Mellor, Sir Richard Mottram and Professor Tony Travers.

The project builds on the Institute’s past work, notably Accountability in Central Government. Outputs from our past work on accountability are also listed below.

Project contacts

Senior Researcher
Senior Researcher