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Abstract

This article looks at the subject of accountability in the administration of the human services. The history of accountability over the last four decades is chronicled and discussed. The point is made that during this period, funders have largely determined the nature of accountability. Because funders have been primarily concerned with funding, accountability has tended to be financial in nature. The authors argue that the focus on financial accountability had two major detrimental effects. First, programmatic accountability was reduced to secondary importance. Second, a wedge was driven between macro administrative practice and micro direct practice as social work managers and administrators became almost exclusively concerned with financial accountability to the detriment of programmatic accountability. The authors go on to suggest that the performance measurement movement has united programmatic and financial accountability and has reunited macro administrative practice and micro direct practice.

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