Toward Theory of Accountability
The demand and need for accountability in human services are crucial and the time has come to develop a conceptual and operational theory of accountability. The benefits of such a development are far-reaching:
- Human service workers
- Social work
- Funding sources
Clients stand to benefit because more qualitative services may be provided if a system of accountability, including intent, goal, and evaluation became an integral part of every human service program.
2. Human Service Workers:
Human service workers would benefit because they would have a clearer understanding of their professional responsibility and the expectations placed on them. Also, they would have the tools with which to measure their effectiveness
Administrators would be provided with more realistic resources with which to effectively manage human service programs. They would also have a clearer social mandate from funding sources and clients regarding their responsibility as brokers.
4. Social Work:
The social work profession stands to benefit because a system of accountability as defined below could do much toward accruing and enhancing the knowledge base of social work practice, especially in terms of goal and objective formulation and its relationship to resource allocation and evaluation.
5. Funding Sources:
Funding sources would be better able to make funding decisions in terms of their own goals and objectives. Those funding sources that wish to adopt a cost-benefit criterion may do so, while others who wish to adopt a less economic criterion may choose a quality-loss analysis.
Finally, we have dealt in this paper with those factors directly within the system of human services, and the importance of developing systems of accountability. Beyond the scope of this paper, and equally as important, is the development of systems of accountability which includes those factors less directly involved in human service practice yet intricately related to the development and maintenance of human services, i.e., government and business.