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Last edited 21 Mar 2022
Functional Standards Common Glossary, published by the Cabinet Office, suggests: ‘Someone who is accountable is required and expected to justify actions or decisions to a person or body with greater authority, from whom the accountability has been formally assigned. [Note: accountability is normally associated with a specific scope of work or set of responsibilities.] [Note: accountabilities can be tiered such that there is a hierarchy of accountabilities, with a higher-level having overall accountability over lower-level accountabilities.] [Note: an accountable person usually has associated formally delegated authority for their actions and decisions, such as through delegated letters.]’
Project Routemap, Setting up projects for success, Organisational Design & Development, UK Module, published by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority in 2021, states: ‘The accountable person is the individual who is ultimately answerable for an activity or decision. This includes ‘yes’ or ‘no’ authority and veto power. Only one accountable person can be held to account. An accountable person has to be accountable to someone for something. Accountability cannot be delegated or shared... The responsible person is the individual who actually undertakes the task: in other words, they manage the action / implementation. Responsibility can be shared. The degree of responsibility is determined by the individual with the accountability.’
Glossary of Capital Budgeting and Infrastructure Governance, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2018, defines accountability as: ‘The existence of an obligation to demonstrate that work has been conducted in compliance with agreed rules and standards or to report fairly and accurately on performance results vis-à-vis mandated roles and/or plans.’
The glossary of statistical terms, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), defines environmental accountability as: ‘…the responsibility for the deterioration of the natural environment, implying the allocation of environmental costs to the economic activities that cause such deterioration.’
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