/ Corruption on the Agenda / Preventing Corruption / Building Accountable Organisations


An accountable organisation is the opposite of a corrupt organisation. Building an accountable organisation is therefore a way to prevent corruption. A set of ready-to-use tools helps you start the process in your own CSO.




Why is accountability so important?

An organisation without proper accountability systems is fragile and open to rumours about mismanagement and abuse of power. Accountability on all levels of your organisation gives trust and legitimacy from stakeholders. Sound accountability structures are highly important when it comes to preventing and detecting corruption.


Everybody has a role to play to keep an organisation accountable:

  • Accountability depends on people's participation. Accountability is an interactive process:
  • Accountability is the ability and will to account for your actions and performance to stakeholders.
  • Accountability also depends on stakeholders being willing and able to hold you accountable.



How do we define accountability? 

Accountability is the obligation to account for actions and performances and to answer for them. However, it takes more for accountability to be functional: A key aspect is that an organisation can be hold accountable - by members, beneficiaries, donors, peers, staff and other stakeholders.


Think of accountabillity in four dimensions: Upward, downward, outward and inward:


 Source: Civicus: Turning Principels Into Action


Accountability implies that the management/board is willing and able to impose sanctions for misconduct or failure. How willing - or able - are people at different levels in a typical organisation to fulfill their roles in regard of accountability? This is a good question to ask in any organsation.



CISU tools for building accountabillity

CISU Accountabillity Dialogue Tool: A tool for self-assessment of your organisation. Are you able to account for your actions and performance to your stakeholders? Are your stakeholders able and willing to fulfill their accountability roles? Learn more and download


CISU Workshop Tools: Ready-to-use materials for workshops on building accountability and preventing corruption in your own organisation. Learn more and download


CISU PowerPoint on Accountability Structures in NGOs and CSOs: A self-instructive Power Point introduction to building accountability structures in CSO, which can be used as inspiration, learning, or as part of training. Download PowerPoint



More tools and resources


Civicus: Turning Principles Into Action: A guide to improving legitimacy, transparacy and accountability in civil society organisations from Civicus, the world allience for citizen participation. Download.


Listen First: A set of tools and approaches that NGOs can use to make themselves more accountable to the people they serve, made by British MANGO and Concern Worlswide. Go to website.


Handbook of NGO Governance: A detailed guide to improving good governance, developed specifically for Eastern Europe but very useful in other parts of the world. Download.


Photography by Pernille Bærendtsen ©

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