There is an increasing focus on improving the quality of good governance in Africa with many countries making important and impressive achievements. Human rights, civil liberties, media freedom, law and order are no longer matters of serious concern in many African countries including Ghana. Most of these countries now boast of Parliamentary democracy. The one most singular challenge that countries like Ghana face as far as good governance is concerned is Public Accountability.
The Concept of Public Accountability demands that politicians and public servants who are entrusted with public resources must be answerable for their fiscal and social responsibilities to the people who provided the resources and who assigned the responsibilities to them.
In a democratic society, Public Accountability is a key aspect of Good Governance. It promotes good behaviour on the part of public servants and enhances effective public service delivery. Unfortunately, Accountability and Transparency in the public sector have been evasive and cited as the primary causes of corruption in Africa.
The Mo Ibrahim Index of 2013 pointed out that "Accountability is one of the weakest elements of governance in Africa with an average score of 39.6% which reflects high levels of corruption in the public sector and government and low levels of prosecution for abuses."
According to a GIZ paper prepared for its recent Accountability Conference in Rwanda, "unaccountable and corruptive behaviour of political and bureaucratic elites, a weak judiciary as well as lack of independence from the government have been identified as the main reasons for weak accountability in Sub-Saharan Africa."
This growing challenge requires an in-depth understanding of the complexities of accountability and transparency in public sector management. It is a process which calls for close collaboration between academia, public sector practitioners, civil society organisations and the media.
It is this understanding and the need to promote accountability in the country that constitutes the primary objective of the Public Accountability Centre of the University of Professional Studies, Accra.
GOALS & OBJECTIVES
The primary objective of the Centre is to study, research and develop recommendations and advocate for reforms to promote Accountability and Transparency in Public Sector Management so as to improve the quality of public service outcomes.
The Vision of the Centre is to establish itself as the leading tertiary-based Institution and think-tank in the provision of quality and relevant Training, Research and Consultancy support to enhance and promote Public Accountability in Africa.
To promote and enhance sound Public Sector Accountability Institutions and Mechanisms in Africa by providing practitioners with the opportunity for continual learning and development, research and knowledge sharing as well as consultancy support.
CORE ACTIVITIES OF THE CENTRE
Guided by our vision and mission, the Centre operates as a non-partisan think-tank committed to the development and practice of sound public sector accountability institutions and advantage of the multi-disciplinary team of experts at UPSA, we provide a varied range of learning opportunities to public sector practitioners in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government.
Broad Areas of Operation:
- Policy-oriented Research
- Knowledge Sharing and Capacity Building
- Consultancy Support
We promote the research profile of the Centre by taking advantage of the multi-disciplinary team of experts in the School of Graduate Studies at UPSA to conduct and disseminate research in various fields relevant to Public Accountability Mechanisms. We continue to explore opportunities for collaboration with other universities to deliver research services. Research results will be disseminated through the Centre's newsletters, website as well as scholarly papers presented at conferences.
Knowledge Sharing and Capacity Building
We provide quality and relevant training as core and regular function of the Centre.
The two main forms of training are:
- The standardized and regular training programmes on Public Accountability Mechanisms.
- Specialized training programmes designed to meet the special needs of specific Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government in Public Accountability Mechanisms.
We provide training and consultancy services to players in the public sector accountability system such as Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government, Parliaments, development partners and non-governmental organisations. We seek to maintain a credible and accurate database of public financial activities such as public debts. We track and monitor government revenues and expenditures and disseminate our findings in our monthly newsletters.