Accountability in a system is most efficient as a non-personal function. By taking the personal out of Accountability, we expedite fixes to issues in real time, as they arise. If we remedy the flow of process based on non-personal feedback, people are more likely to feel safe expressing themselves, which increases transparency and provides opportunity for leadership.

Here is an example of Accountability in social permaculture, using the group decision-making process of dynamic governance. A person regularly arrives late for meetings. We can’t possibly know what the reasons are for this behavior, and we can make the choice to be kind. Asking them if changing the meeting schedule or location would be of value to them brings awareness of the issue to the group without blame. It also provides the person with an opportunity to be personally accountable to the group in a way that serves their personal or professional needs.

To further eliminate blame and shame, a community can provide time for personal Accountability by scheduling time to address issues relevant to the successful functioning of the group. Providing neutral, safe space for Accountability builds mutual trust and confidence, as well as a feeling of safety.

Municipalities have many opportunities to include Accountability in their relationships with consultants and developers. Developing systems for review and feedback which provides specific information to all parties on a regular basis can be included in contracts up front. As in all things permaculture, when you invest the time up front to understand the existing conditions, you learn what can be changed or leveraged in the system to create the most benefits. Work done in the beginning reduces the time and cost of most projects, and increases efficiency.