This study explores the understanding of the concept of accountability held by Victorian local government managers and elected councillors in a New Public Management (NPM) environment. Accountability involves relationships between superiors and subordinates and in the case of local government between councillors, management and members of the community. Accountability relationships exist between councillors and management and between the different levels of management.
The position that a person holds within local government is subject to the organization's culture, in particular the values held by councillors and staff, the use of power and how the superior/subordinate relationships are understood. A survey instrument was sent to all councillors and managers in Victorian local government. There was a 21% response rate. Anova analysis was applied to determine if there were significant differences between councillors and tier 1 and tier 2 managers. The anova analysis found that there were differences between the groups depending upon where the municipality was located and whether a person was a councillor or a tier 1 or tier 2 managers.