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A stakeholder reporting model for semi-autonomous public sector agencies: the case of the workers' compensation agency in Newfoundland, Canada

By Daphne Louise Rixon


There is increased public pressure for governments to be more accountable for their actions. A particular area of concern relates to the trend of many governments to delegate responsibility for certain public services to agencies. This thesis develops a reporting model that can be used by public sector agencies to demonstrate accountability to their stakeholders. The model encompasses three main strands of accountability: financial reporting,· performance outcome reporting and stakeholder consultation. Stakeholders are identified using Clarkson's (1984) primary/secondary typology and are further delineated through Mitchell, Agle and Wood's (1997) salience framework. The prominence of financial reporting in a stakeholder reporting model is examined through a discussion of the application of commercial versus public sector accounting standards. Non-financial performance outcome reporting is a fundamental element of a stakeholder accountability model. Stewart's (1994) Ladder of Accountability is utilized to identify the various aspects of accountability: probity/legality, process, performance, programme and policy. An important element of accountability centers on stakeholder consultation and involvement. The thesis employs Friedman and Miles' (2006) Ladder of Stakeholder Management and Engagement as an approach not only to elicit feedback from stakeholders, but to truly engage them in the accountability process. This research study examines how the conceptual frameworks, convergence of accounting standards, designation of a government orgaruzation as a government business enterprise (GBE) and the introduction of accountability legislation impacts the ability of an agency to adequately demonstrate accountability to its stakeholders. This study uses the case of the workers' compensation agency in the Province of Newfoundland, Canada to develop a stakeholder accountability model which addresses the needs of stakeholders. This is one of the oldest public sector agencies in Newfoundland, and it operates at arm's length from government owing to its legislative right to levy its own revenue to fund programs. Further, as it is a mandatory system for the funders (employers) and beneficiaries (injured workers), arguably it should be held to a higher level of accountability

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