Public accountability was formally imposed on the Thai Government in 1997 when the World Bank compelled public sector reforms as a condition for bailing the country from…
Public accountability was formally imposed on the Thai Government in 1997 when the World Bank compelled public sector reforms as a condition for bailing the country from bankruptcy. Despite regulating to promote public accountability for 20 years, the public accountability of Thai Government is still criticized as poor. However, the specific areas of public accountability needing improvement have not been clearly identified in Thailand. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the Thai Government discharges its public accountability.
Prior literature supported annual reports as essential means by which public sector entities discharge their public accountability, and addressed the desirable aspects of reporting which permit the public’s monitoring of their government’s performance. That is: the account must be publicly accessible, timely, reliable and adequate. This paper evaluates the 2016 annual reports of the Thai Central Government departments against these aspects in tandem with the reporting regulations.
The results show that reliability and timeliness of annual report disclosures are the most problematic, followed by accessibility and adequacy. It was also found that the existing regulations provide only mild sanctions on government officers for their non-compliance. Further, statistical evidence suggests that larger departments report better on voluntary items than departments with smaller revenue.
These weaknesses of the reporting and regulations provide immediate suggestions for public policy regulators as to how to improve the Thai Government’s public accountability. These results are also expected to be useful to international lending institutions to be aware of particular issues when considering their foreign aid programs. Theoretically, the paper supports the necessity of public accountability mechanisms, in particular public sanctions, which need to be strong enough to motivate governments’ public accountability. It also highlights that public accountability aspects can be useful to measure or evaluating public sector reporting in emerging countries such as Thailand.
Public sector entities face conflicting demands from stakeholders. The literature suggests identifying and prioritizing stakeholders can improve accountability. Thailand…
Public sector entities face conflicting demands from stakeholders. The literature suggests identifying and prioritizing stakeholders can improve accountability. Thailand, an emerging economy, and currently under military rule, provides an interesting context to investigate stakeholder tensions. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how and why the Thai Government bureaucrats prioritize their stakeholders.
The study draws on the managerial branch of stakeholder theory and stakeholder salience theory to examine the importance of various stakeholders and of the stakeholders’ salient attributes perceived by the Thai Government bureaucrats in discharging its accountability. The study uses a survey questionnaire mailed out to the central government departments in Thailand.
The study finds that single most important stakeholder is the Office of the Auditor-General. The public is perceived as the second. This is dissimilar to the western-centric accountability focus on the public, and challenges claims by the Thai military coup that it will bring democratic rule. “Legal power” supporting the stakeholders’ claims for government accountability is the most influential attribute in determining stakeholder importance and prioritizing attention for government bureaucrat’s discharge of its accountability.
Such findings increase understanding of the applicability of stakeholder theory and stakeholder salience theory in the context of military rule in emerging economy countries such as Thailand. This paper also provides suggestions of how stakeholders may shape their salience in order to gain priority. This also provides an immediate suggestion for reforms of the Thai regulatory frameworks in prioritizing stakeholders and promoting the government’s greater accountability.
The statement of service performance is a mandatory report provided by local governments in New Zealand. Despite 20 years' reporting experience, the Office of the…
The statement of service performance is a mandatory report provided by local governments in New Zealand. Despite 20 years' reporting experience, the Office of the Auditor-General (2008) criticised the poor quality of these reports. Past theoretical literature has attempted to develop a framework for the accountability expectations of documents provided by public-sector entities (Stewart, 1984). The purpose of this paper is to measure the consistency of the statements of service performance about wastewater services made by New Zealand local governments with the accountability expectations, using an accountability disclosure index. The paper reveals a moderately high level of consistency. “Probity” and “legality” accountability disclosures are high while “process/efficiency” and “performance programme-effectiveness” accountability are less emphasised. The results suggest that accountability expectations provide a useful tool for evaluating statements of service performance.
The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of the influential factors that may affect disclosures in the statements of service performance (SSPs) on…
The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of the influential factors that may affect disclosures in the statements of service performance (SSPs) on wastewater services by New Zealand local authorities.
Drawing on neo-institutional sociology theory, coercive power from the authoritative requirements, the authors investigate the impact of this primary pressure on SSP reporting. A disclosure index is used to measure the level of correspondence of SSPs with the authoritative requirements. Based on prior research, influential factors were quantified to examine their association with the disclosures, using regression analysis.
The results indicate that the coercive pressure alone, without the support of mimetic and normative pressures, has had little influence on disclosure practice, with the majority of local authorities not adhering to the authoritative requirements. Political competition, size of constituency, constituency sophistication, political visibility, staff availability, personal attributes of accounting staff and financial resource availability are identified as likely influential factors for the SSPs. Size, proxied by total assets, proves to be significantly associated with the SSP reporting correspondence.
The results from the analysis of wastewater disclosures may have limited generalizability to other activities’ disclosures. Nevertheless, wastewater services are considered a critical activity and are expected to be prepared with expertise. Therefore, it is likely that the reporting capability of wastewater services will extend to other activities’ disclosures.
The findings reported provide evidence that the authoritative requirements for SSP reporting need further development, smaller local authorities and outsourcing local authorities need more assistance in preparing SSPs and audit reports can be more informative in identifying non-compliance with the authoritative requirements for SSPs.
The paper investigates a range of factors that influence the SSP reporting by the New Zealand Government and opens new research opportunities for other influential factors. Such findings may provide further help to regulators and reporting entities in improving the SSP reporting practice.