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Accountability is usually associated with the responsibility that an accounts holder has with the attainment of a particular target. For example, in a motor car manufacturer, it is not unusual for the production manager to be accountable to the costs of production. This production manager can be assessed for performance against the targets and may even have remuneration (e.g., bonuses) based on the performance metrics.

But accountability can be a contentious concept, not always generally understood or agreed upon. An interesting illustration of this arose in respect of the cost of policing for English professional football games. In 2017, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, argued that the city’s Premier League football clubs should be more accountable for the total cost of policing at home matches. Currently Premier League clubs pay only for the policing which happens inside the stadium, while the Mayor’s local authority covers the huge policing costs outside the stadium. The Mayor has argued that accountability for policing costs is not set appropriately. What do you think? Who do you think should be accountable for the costs of policing outside the stadium for a football match? Can you think of other real-life examples where the accountability is unclear and possibly questionable?