Non-profit organisations and accountability: A comment on the Mulgan and Sinclair frameworks

Conroy, Denise K. (2005) Non-profit organisations and accountability: A comment on the Mulgan and Sinclair frameworks. Third Sector Review, 11(1), pp. 103-116.


Recent literature on the accountability of non-profit organisations (NPOs) especially community sector agencies, suggests that they lack accountability right across a range of areas – legal compliance and financial reporting, overall performance, and treatment of individual clients. Commentators are concerned about public sector standards of accountability for those NPOs drawn into the public domain of providing taxpayer-funded services and the 'cost' of such accountability especially its impact on flexibility and spontaneity of response to client needs.

This article explores approaches to performance measurement frameworks applicable to NPOs by a review of the debates on accountability and stewardship. It concludes that the NPO sector is required at different times, to demonstrate the 'accountability' measures of the public sector – outcomes performance measures (public interest focus) – as well as of the private sector – bottom line performance measures (private interest or consumerism focus). Inevitability, though, the NPOs remain mission-driven, reflecting a community (pluralism) focus.

The solution requires an integration of socio-political and economic efficiency measures compatible with the existing regulatory regime in which the NPO operates.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 9473
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Accountability, Non, profit, Measurement, Evaluation, Standards
ISSN: 1323-9163
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Public Policy (160510)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Business Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Denise K. Conroy
Deposited On: 13 Sep 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:11

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