The Eight Attributes of Good Governance


  • Accountability

    Government institutions, elected and appointed representatives and the professional bureaucracy must be accountable to the public. Accountability requires transparency and the rule of law (see below).

  • Transparency

    The processes by which public institutions make and implement policy decisions and the law must be visible and accessible to the public, so the public can understand how and why decisions are made. As a general rule, the meetings and documents of public agencies should be open and available to the public.

  • Rule of law

    The rule of law is what constrains arbitrary decision-making and arbitrary enforcement of existing laws and policies. The rule of law requires fair and just legal frameworks that are enforced impartially. It also requires an independent judiciary and impartial law enforcement officers.

  • Responsive

    Public institutions and officials must be responsive to the needs of all stakeholders in the community in a timely and effective manner.

  • Equitable and Inclusive

    All members of the community, but particularly its most vulnerable groups, must feel that they have a stake in its well-being and do not feel excluded.

  • Effective and efficient

    Good governance means that public institutions produce policy outcomes that actually meet the needs of the community (good outcomes) and do so in an efficient manner given the resources available (cost-effective).

  • Participatory

    The participation of all members of society, particularly adults, in the governance process is an essential component of good governance. Participation may be direct or indirect (i.e., through elected representatives). Effective participation requires an informed and organized citizenry, which necessarily requires laws and institutions that protect freedom of expression and association.

  • Consensus oriented

    Our society is composed of individuals who hold many different viewpoints and perspectives on issues of concern to the entire community. Good governance employs processes that make it possible for different interests to find common ground and to achieve as broad a consensus on issues as is possible.