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This paper examines the excesses of the `audit culture’ in relation to North-South development NGO partnerships. It argues that the focus on documentation needs to be reduced, and greater faith placed on personal interaction and judgement between Northern and Southern development NGO partners. In some circumstances, this is a strategy that can encourage more rigorous monitoring and accountability practices, which are able to move beyond a problematic focus on quantifiable targets. The paper draws attention to similar debates over the public sector in the UK, and the problems associated with micro-management in a culture of distrust.

This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis.

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