This paper draws on experience from Uganda. Uganda is committed to decentralisation. This commitment is transforming the way services are planned and financed, and new associations between local government, NGOs and private sector agencies are being created. Much attention has been focussed on the adoption of various techniques - such as participatory rural appraisal - through which direct and intensive forms of participation can be encouraged in decentralised planning. This trend is critically examined and potential unintended consequences are highlighted. A broader concept of accountability is outlined to illustrate a more inclusive approach to planning and allocation for more equity and sustainability in rural services.