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How to ensure accountability and oversight in security and justice programming

Time (GMT +01) 17:00 19:00
Hero image description: A chief in East Gonja, Ghana talks about how he works with youths in his kingdom Image credit:Overseas Development Institute Image license:ODI given rights


Piet Biesheuvel


A number of major UK and internationally delivered security and justice programmes have been characterised by a lack of focus on issues of accountability. Professionalising security and justice institutions in the absence of accountability – for both behaviour and performance – represents a clear danger and is therefore something that designers and implementers must take more seriously.

Accountability is essential in terms of setting the policy framework, determining priorities, and allocating budgets. While democratic oversight should supply this accountability, it is often put in place and operationalised by the delivery institution itself. Accountability to the users of security and justice services is an equally important matter. This presentation will outline multiple models of accountability (horizontal, vertical and diagonal approaches) and how accountability affects major security and justice actors. It will provide a framework for thinking about accountability in security and justice work in future.

Before the event, we spoke to Piet about why accountability is important, who it is to, and what can be done to improve accountability in security and justice programming. 

Listen to the interview

About Piet Biesheuvel:

Piet Biesheuvel has a wide range of developmental experience in the governance, justice and security sectors, especially in sub-Sahara Africa where he operated in the field for over sixteen years. He has managed long-term Safety Security and Access to Justice (SSAJ) programmes in Uganda and Malawi and was the British Government’s Policing & Security Adviser in South Africa between 1996 and 2001. Between 2004 and 2007 he was the policing and justice adviser in the UK Government’s Security Sector Reform Development Advisory Team. He has advised on, designed, implemented or reviewed security and justice sector reform programmes in Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, South Sudan, DRC, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Morocco, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bolivia, Guyana, Belize, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Sri Lanka, Nepal, East Timor and Vietnam. He has also conducted a number of sector-wide reviews for the British Government’s conflict prevention pools. He has provided governance, security & justice policy support to the UK and Dutch Governments, specialising on the governance, accountability and oversight of the security and justice sectors. Between 2008 and 2009 he was the UK’s Security and Justice lead adviser in Helmand, Afghanistan. He is a regular speaker on security and justice development issues.