The failure of government institutions to deliver satisfactory services to the citizens resulted in calls for transparency and accountability. Through the different transparency and accountability initiatives, efforts are being made to deepen democracy and increase citizen participation in governance (Joshi, 2013). Transparency and accountability are regarded as tenets of good governance that have emerged to address developmental failures and democratic deficits (Florini, 1999; Rosie McGee & Gaventa, 2011). They are seen as cornerstones of sustainable development. It is believed that true transparency can improve governance and enhance accountability (The International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions, n.d.). This is why the discourse on transparency and accountability is prioritized on the global agenda and is promoted by both international and nongovernmental organizations. Online and mobile technology tools are also being deployed to promote these two tenets of democracy (Avila, Feigenblatt, Heacock, & Heller, 2010). Harrison and Sayogo (2014), however, contended that information and communication technology (ICT) use to distribute government information (e-transparency) has made the issue of transparency more complex, since it raises technical and privacy issues which could lead to the inadvertent distribution of information and requires the identification of quality information. The disclosure of government information requires resources to deal with the issues that Harisson and Sayogo (2014) highlight.

Transparent and accountable governments promote the well-being of individuals and businesses, which in turn creates prosperous and productive economies. They also enable both political and public institutions to keep an eye on each other and hence hold each other accountable (Bauhr & Grimes, 2014). Transparency is expected to enhance accountability and to induce good behavior in government office holders (Bauhr & Grimes, 2014). Joshi (2013) identified four elements that make up the relationship between power-holders (those voted into power) and the delegator (the citizens). These elements constitute: setting standards, getting information about actions, making judgments about appropriateness, and sanctioning unsatisfactory performance. Transparency and accountability are further seen as enablers of inclusive and sustainable growth and development. Where governments are transparent and accountable, the citizens are empowered to become the drivers of their own development. Budget transparency is a good example of how citizens can be included in the government budgetary process. Therefore, there is a correlation between transparency and the quality of governance that citizens enjoy.

Enterprise Content Management, Records Management and Information Culture Amidst e-Government Development.


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According to the World Bank, countries with high levels of budgetary transparency are more democratic and achieve positive development which secures the economic and social rights of their citizens (The World Bank, 2013). Fiscal transparency shows a government’s willingness to open up its internal decision-making processes. This gives citizens an opportunity to scrutinize government decisions and to demand action where democracy exists (Harrison & Sayogo, 2014). However, despite this knowledge, millions of people continue to live in countries without accountable and transparent institutions (Sida, 2013). Governments that lack integrity, ethical underpinnings, are corrupt, secretive, and embrace nepotism are not accountable to their citizens and therefore risk losing legitimacy which threatens the stability of societies (Field, 2010). Tabel 7.1 presents principles of good governance as listed by Field:

Table 7.1 Principles of good governance

Legitimacy and voice

  • — Participation—all men and women should have a voice in decision making, either directly or through legitimate intermediate institutions that represent their intention. Such broad participation is built on freedom of association and speech as well as capacities to participate constructively.
  • — Consensus orientation—good governance mediates differing interests to reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interest of the group and, where possible, on policies and procedures.


— Strategic vision—leaders and the public have a broad and longterm perspective on good governance and human development, along with a sense of what is needed for such development. There is also an understanding of the historical, cultural, and social complexities in which that perspective is grounded.



  • — Institutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders.
  • — Effectiveness and efficiency—processes and institutions produce results that meet needs while making the best use of resources.


  • — Decision makers in government, the private sector and civil society organizations are accountable to the public as well as to institutional stakeholders. This accountability differs depending on the organizations and whether the decision is internal or external.
  • — Transparency is built on the free flow of information. Processes, institutions, and information are directly accessible to those concerned with them, and enough information is provided to understand and monitor them.

Fairness and equity

  • — All men and women have opportunities to improve or maintain their well-being.
  • — Rule of law—legal frameworks should be fair and enforced impartially, particularly the laws on human rights.
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