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Strengthening Oversight and Accountability

The new road agencies are primarily managed by a representative board of directors under an independent chairman of standing (PDF 60 KB). Although some of these boards remain weak, others have turned out to be examples of emerging good practice. The best have non executive powers, and a broad-based, representative membership defined in terms of clearly defined constituencies (e.g., key ministries, Chamber of Commerce, road transport associations, the professions, farmers, etc.). Members are normally nominated by the constituencies they represent (i.e., they are not simply appointed by the minister or senior officials) and the private sector members are usually in the majority. An added feature is that the chairperson is usually independent. Sometimes they are elected by the board, appointed by the Minister from the existing members of the board, or appointed by the President or Minister (hopefully) after consultation with the board. The board generally appoints the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), under terms and conditions determined by the board, and delegates day-to-day management functions to the CEO. These boards help to protect the road agency from unwelcome interference in day-to-day management matters, they enable the road agency to draw on a wider range of skills and contacts among board members, and the private sector members help the road agency to recognise that it is delivering services to clearly defined customers. Customer-orientation is particularly important when the road agency is trying to seek public support for more road spending.