The Accountability Cycle - Program Accountability
Program Directors are accountable for the responsible management of their program within the budget as allocated. They are accountable to the Band Council for delivering programs in accordance with policy duly approved by Council or set out within a funding arrangement. They are also accountable to clients for the quality of service provided.
Program accountability is made possible in several ways. First, program staff produce regular (monthly) financial reports in cooperation with the Financial Controller. These reports are summarized to give Council an ongoing overview of the fiscal health of each program and the Band as a whole (see Expenditure and Variance Reports).
The Mid-Year Report is the first formal chance Directors have to speak directly with Council since program budgets were approved. With assistance from the Band Manager and Financial Controller, Program Directors share the results of the first half of the fiscal year to Council, and present their cases for the second phase of appropriations (if applicable).
Another way in which Program Directors are held accountable is through annual performance reviews undertaken by Band Council. Many First Nations now utilize Program Manager Contracts (Program Managers commit to meeting specific objectives in a given time frame and within a specific budget). Annual performance reviews give Chief and Council an opportunity to ensure program accountability and ask questions related to program operations. This information exchange between management and government is one important way to maintain transparency and ensure disclosure.
As you can see, Program Accountability links to several other elements in the fiscal planning cycle. From the monies appropriated to the programs, Directors must move in directions that are in line with the Council's priorities. By working with the Financial Controller, Directors will have moved through the Budgetary Cycle to keep a handle on the financial situation of their programs. Finally, as we move through the Accountability Cycle, the reports, and actions undertaken throughout the year give input into the other accountability elements (e.g., Annual Report).