State of Accountability of the Transferred Departments at the Upazila Parishad and its Consequences for Allocation and Utilisation of Resources:
Contributors: Mirza Hassan, Farhana Razzaque, Md. Bayazid Hasan,Muhammad Ashikur Rahman
This study finds that despite the transfer policy, human resources and personnel management set up of these departments manifests a centralised bureaucratic structure and process. Moreover, the system of top down bureaucratic accountability continues and it is effectively enforced by the following well developed accountability tools: Annual Confidential Report, Annual Performance Agreement, Monthly meeting at the District level, Project Evaluation Report and Monthly Activity Report. Therefore, in effect, officials of the transferred departments are clearly subject to a dual form of accountability (manifested mainly in the form of dual reporting). The study also intends to explore the gaps, if any, in the formal accountability structure and process and to reflect on the relations between officials of transferred departments and the elected body of UZP. It reveals that the mode of application of the laws related to the transfer of departments tends to be characterised by a lack of precision and ambiguities. It is a matter of fact that, while Upazila Chairperson (UZC) enjoys freedom in appointing employees of the UZP and taking disciplinary action against them, the authority of the UZC is circumscribed in relation to the central government officials transferred to the UZP. A close scrutiny of the Upazila Manual also shows that it tends to lack clarity regarding the nature of accountability linkages (processes, mechanisms, rules of business etc, for instance, how to coordinate, supervise and monitor the transferred departments) between the UZP elected representatives and the transferred officials. For instance, the Manual lacks concrete instructions such as on how officials will send monthly report, project evaluation report, progress report, etc., (if any) to the UZC, which could have clearly defined the accountability tools/mechanisms.
Apart from the gaps and vagueness in laws there are several other factors which explain as to why the democratic accountability process has remained dysfunctional. The reasons are: (i) Information deficit (ii) Authority deficit (iii) Knowledge deficit of the transferred officials (iv) Elected representative's lack of control over resources and (v) Tools (Annual Performance Review, Project Monitoring by UZC and (iii) Project Monitoring Committee) of the democratic accountability are ineffective.