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Understandings of administrative accountability in the “Westminster” democracies remain too closely linked to the institutional arrangements through which accountability has traditionally been exacted in these countries. This has prevented a full appreciation of the nature and extent of changes which have been under way for some time. The article argues that a refined concept of accountability and five subordinate “conceptions” of accountability, corresponding to distinctive sets of institutional arrangements, are needed to comprehend the relevant changes. The identification of multiple options for administrative accountability, in turn, raises questions about how the different accountability systems are to be chosen and combined to maximize accountability without impairing administrative effectiveness.