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Competencies for process steering

Competency for process steering

It would make sense for there to be a unit in the organization which steers the entire GM process in a government ministry. This includes, for example, responsibility for coordinating and implementing GM in the ministry’s measures in all areas by means of concrete target and work planning. Here, close communication between all departments within the ministry should be ensured. Moreover, it is a matter of identifying problems and developing problem solving strategies as well as providing impulses and support for the entire ministry.
In this connection, staffing, time and financial resources must be made available. As part of implementation from top down, staff should be motivated by example. In a modern administration, process steering also includes monitoring, which is necessary in order to obtain the required steering information, so as to be able, if necessary, to optimize previous methods.

Process steering is of great importance, especially in the introductory and transitional phases. In these phases, the implementation process must be set in motion and guided. In time, the tasks change. In the transitional phase, specialist steering becomes increasingly more important, and specialist processing in regular practice.
Various models are possible for allocating responsibility for these tasks:
  • Assigning responsibility for process steering to the central departmental management (AL-Z) offers great advantages. AL-Z has far-reaching possibilities for steering and the power to push the GM implementation process through, and is not associated with the “women’s corner”. However, it is necessary to ensure commitment to GM and gender competence in the department, or else the top management of the central department, on account of their central function, could hinder or delay the implementation of GM in the whole ministry. At federal level, the central departmental management departments, as members of the inter-ministry working group (IMA GM), moreover know the state of play concerning implementation in the entire federal administration, which can be useful for implementation in their own ministries. For communication with other department managements, departmental meetings, among other things, can be used. For work in terms of content, it is practical and meaningful for the AL-Z to be supported in carrying out its task by another working unit, e.g. a coordination sub-department.

  • Setting up a cross-departmental steering group for GM process steering can be a good idea, especially at the beginning of implementation and in the design of the phase of transition into regular practice, even if this is a special structure. This body should be composed of high-ranking people, i.e. by people with decision-making powers for the whole ministry. It would therefore not be appropriate for this body to be at sub-department level. All department heads should be represented on this steering group, which should be chaired by, for example, the head of the central department. If all department heads are represented, the passing on of necessary information, impulses and instructions to the respective departments is guaranteed. Optimally, external support should be provided for, at least for the introductory phase of GM, in order to provide specialist support if there are still gaps in gender competence. The members of such a cross-departmental steering group should be supported in their task by means of training seminars. One example of such a steering group is the GM contact group in the Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

  • In order to provide the necessary support for the top management, i.e. the Minister and State Secretary, It should be ensured that feedback with the top management is possible and is used.

  • Another possibility is to distribute competency in a planning staff. This is conceptionally and strategically responsible for the whole ministry. Thus, the planning staff has direct access to the top management. This function is what makes the establishment of competence for GM process steering so interesting. By virtue of this closeness to top management, the necessary top-down aspect can be credibly put into practice. Moreover, the planning staff is able to use existing informal routes to be effective on a broad basis within the ministry. One disadvantage, however, is that there is no direct access to the departments. To counter this disadvantage, it can be a good idea to share competence for process steering, e.g. with the central department.

  • The Federal Ministry for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture has decided on this model within the framework of its own internal implementation of GM.

  • If competence is to be established with a coordination department, it must be taken into consideration that certain forms of steering are not available at this functional level, which are, nonetheless, necessary for process steering within the ministry as a whole. Effective execution of the task is then hardly possible or then moreover depends heavily on the informal power of the respective department. It can be a good idea to set up a coordination department to support the top management of the central department. It should, however, continue to be guaranteed that competence remains with the top management of the central department and that the coordination department has only a supporting function.

  • Allocation to the personnel department is not a good idea, because this department is too heavily associated with staff development and promotion of women and its competencies exist mainly in these areas in terms of content. Allocation of competence to the organisational department is also useful only within limits, because there is no specialist relation to the tasks associated with GM in the organisational department. Such competence only makes sense for the coordination of establishment in existing processes and routines.

  • Another possibility could be to allocate competence for GM process steering to a single person, i.e. a gender or gender mainstreaming officer. The disadvantage of this would be the risk of marginalization through the establishment of a special structure. Such officers are seldom vested with corresponding decision-making power. Effective execution of the set task, GM process steering for the whole ministry, would thus not be possible. The installation of such officers can be a good idea in the introductory phase of GM, but then as contact partners within the framework of internal consultancy for specialist steering in each department.

  • Competence for steering the GM process should also not be allocated to the equal opportunities commissioner. Such a role for the equal opportunities commissioner would go against the cross-sectional approach and top-down principle of GM and would lead to a reduction of GM to staff policy measures and promotion of women. The risks outlined above of marginalization and practically no decision-making power are also arguments against such an allocation of competence. Nonetheless, the equal opportunities commissioner’s knowledge relating to gender equality and her own administrative unit are important for the implementation of GM and should be utilized. The equal opportunities commissioner can operate as a mediator and multiplicator within the framework of the implementation of GM.

  • All the models presented above have more or less great and small disadvantages. The clearly best model, the “recipe” for the allocation of competencies, does not exist. Rather, the particular features of the ministry in question must be a factor in deciding on one of these models. Even if, for example, it is in general a good idea on the basis of what has been said above to allocate responsibility for process steering to the top management of the central department, this may be the wrong decision in an individual case. If it is known that there is significant resistance to gender equality and/or GM there, then such a decision can in this case hinder the entire implementation process. Conversely, it can be good to allocate competence after all to a coordination department. For example, if a very committed and experienced person is in that department, who shows great commitment to gender equality and moreover possesses a great deal of informal power within the organization. The decision in favor of a certain organizational unit can hardly be independent of the assessment of the people involved in it.

    erstellt von Administrator zuletzt verändert: 02.01.2010 20:07