​​Accountability is a foundation principle of public sector governance. It means being answerable for decisions and having appropriate mechanisms in place to ensure the agency adheres to all applicable standards.

Accountability is often used synonymously with concepts such as responsibility, answerability and liability. Accountability in the public sector is often dictated or implied by law, regulation or agreement.

In leadership roles, accountability is the acknowledgment of responsibility for policies, decisions and actions within the scope of the role. Accountability encompasses the obligation to report, explain and be answerable for resulting consequences of actions or inaction.

Financial accountability

See the financial management page for your financial accountabilities.

Procurement accountability

Depending on your financial delegations, you will be accountable for purchases of goods and services your team requires. Information is available in the Right to Information​ section.

Recordkeeping accountability

Government records are frequently scrutinised through Right to I​nformation ​​requests by the media and the community. We have a responsibility to ensure that our teams use the highest standards of recordkeeping.

The information management procedure details requirements for establishing and maintaining recordkeeping practices that meet statutory and accountability obligations, ensuring access to accurate and reliable information when required.

You need to become familiar with recordkeeping standards and ensure your team members are trained properly for their roles. This training is available in the Keys to managing information mandatory induction program.

Performance accountability

You are accountable for the performance of your team. Creating a team environment in which all members are motivated to excel and supportive of team goals will help you to meet your own performance indicators.

You are expected to pro-actively manage any unacceptable behaviour and work performance issues that arise in your team. You may have to challenge staff on occasions. Discuss with your supervisor during your own performance conversations if you feel you need to develop these skills further. More information is available on the leadership and people management pages.

The Public Service Commission has developed resources to support efficient management of public sector performance. A Conduct and Performance Excellence team has been set up to provide information and advice to agencies in determining appropriate ways to deal with various levels of poor performance and behaviour. Resources are available from the Public Service Commission website.


You will be accountable for reporting on your team's progress - how you are achieving planned outcomes within budget and time constraints. This may be informal with your supervisor but will also form part of regular departmental reporting cycles. You may be asked to contribute facts and figures for inclusion in high-level departmental reports such as the Annual Report and State Budget Report. These documents inform Parliament and the community about the department's performance.

Information on corporate reporting is available on OneP​ortal​.

Last updated 12 July 2022