Accountability is an under researched aspect of public-private partnerships. For partnerships to be successful, they must incorporate mechanisms that ensure that partners are answerable for their performance. Although it is often assumed that rendering an account is a straightforward process of monitoring contractual obligations, the literature suggests that many issues may arise in relation to holding service deliverers accountable in the context of partnerships. In this article we discuss findings of research conducted in The Netherlands in the social housing field. We argue that public-private partnerships, in the context of a quasi-market, did not introduce greater responsiveness through the accountability mechanisms of exit and voice. The reality was rather more complex, as accountability between local government and social landlords was ensured through sustained dialogue, fostered by a situation in which the two parties have found themselves in stable and enduring relationships of mutual dependence.
© 2009 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart