In 2017 the Crick Centre is launching a new international research project with partners in seven countries studying public sector accountability. In recent years, more and more resources have been invested in accountability around the world, yet this has not always improved perceptions across society that public bodies are genuinely accountable. On the contrary, accountability failures are widely documented by the media, and trust in public bodies is low. The key issue this project examines is: how accountable do public bodies feel in practice, and what determines these feelings of more or less accountability?
Led by our Deputy Director Matt Wood, and funded by a prestigious grant from the Dutch government held at Utrecht University, the Crick Centre will work as part of a team of international collaborators in the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, Australia and Denmark. A survey will be carried out of public bodies across all eight countries, examining the extent to which they feel accountable to government departments, parliaments, stakeholders and the wider public. As well as rigorous academic evidence, the survey will provide policymakers with the first systematic map of how accountability really works across the full range of UK public bodies, as well as invaluable comparisons with similar countries.
The Crick Centre will be responsible for distributing the survey to UK public bodies in Spring 2017, and has funding to hire a research assistant to administer the survey and help with analysis. More information and a call for applications will be made available soon. In September 2017 the Crick Centre will also host a special international seminar bringing together teams from all eight nations to examine the results. We will be providing a series of blogs and briefing papers for parliamentary select committees and think tanks to go with the project.
The Dutch Binnenhof. Image courtesy of Jesterhat84 via Wikimedia Commons
For more information on the project contact Matt Wood, firstname.lastname@example.org