Changing modes of official accountability in the UK

Robert Pyper, Karen Miller, Duncan McTavish

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Accountability norms for governmental officials (central government civil servants to local government officers) in the UK were traditionally stable and predictable, and based upon the primacy of political accountability. At central government level the mode of accountability was through the doctrine of individual ministerial responsibility within a majoritarian setting, and in local authorities, the accountability of officers was to committees of elected councillors normally dominated by one party. From the 1980s onwards, however, a series of new dynamics created more complex accountability relationships. These developments stemmed in part from the emergence of the New Public Management and ‘modernisation’ agendas, restructuring of central government through the process of agencification, the rise of consumerist modes of accountability, and the establishment of statute-based freedom of information.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Future of Governance
Subtitle of host publicationSelected Papers from the Fifth Transatlantic Dialogue on Public Administration
EditorsT. Brandsen , M. Holzer
PublisherNational Center for Public Performance
ISBN (Print)9780942942217
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • multilevel governance
  • public sector
  • accountability
  • United Kingdom


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