The Management of Cross-Cutting Issues

Boyle, Richard


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Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: CPMR- Committee for Public Management Research
Schriftenreihe: CPMR discussion paper
Bandnummer: 8
ISBN: 1 902448 11 1
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 1999
Publikationsdatum: 30.03.2009
Originalveröffentlichung: (1999)
DDC-Sachgruppe: Öffentliche Verwaltung
BK - Basisklassifikation: 88.20 (Organisation staatlicher Einrichtungen, Management staatlicher Einrichtungen)
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.7 Verwaltungswissenschaften

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

This paper examines recent initiatives to manage ‘cross-cutting’ issues. Issues such as drugs, homelessness and unemployment cut across government departments and levels of government. Such intractable cross-cutting issues, which are government priorities,require management actions which go beyond traditional approaches such as interdepartmental committees if they are to be tackled effectively. Joined up solutions to the problems need to be found. In this study, the national and international literature on the management of cross-cutting issues is reviewed, in order to identify good practice examples. Also, a small number of case studies of the management of cross-cutting issues – covering drugs, poverty, civil service management change, and homelessness – are investigated. Lessons are drawn from these experiences and ways of progressing the management of cross-cutting issues identified. The paper is divided into five main parts. Following the Introduction, in Chapter 2 the international and Irish policy context is addressed. In Chapter 3, the specific role of Strategic Results Areas in developing a strategic framework for crosscutting issues is explored. Chapter 4 investigates the main structures and processes used to facilitate the management of cross-cutting issues. In Chapter 5, the role of cross-cutting teams is examined in some detail. Finally, in Chapter 6, the lessons learned are summarised. The focus is on actions needed at both national and local levels in order to ensure co-ordinated service provision. Frameworks and processes for managing cross-cutting issues Chapters 2 to 4 of the paper look at frameworks and processes which have been put in place internationally and in Ireland for the management of cross-cutting issues. The emphasis is on what has been referred to as ‘joined up solutions for joined up problems.’Developing a shared vision across participants is important. In this context, the development and tracking of Strategic Results Areas (SRAs) or their equivalent is important. Ensuring that SRAs are stepped down into actionable statements by the agencies involved is vital to their success. Encouraging political/administrative dialogue and commitment to seeing the vision through to reality is a key task – managing what New Zealand officials refer to as the ‘purple zone’ of conversation between ministers operating in the policy (blue) zone and officials operating in the administration (red) zone. A common vision must be balanced against the organisation and individual goals of participants. Recognition of self-interest is important in the process of developing common goals and trust. Co-ordinating instruments are available to facilitate co-operation and co-ordination. In particular, regulatory instruments (facilitating entry or setting up barriers to entry),financial instruments (such as capital investments, tax reliefs) and communicative instruments (the terms used to formulate issues or problems) are available to steer initiatives. Financial incentives can be particularly influential. Pilot funding to encourage joint working can usefully generate innovative approaches. With regard to mainstream funding, issues such as whether or not funding is once-off, what vote it is allocated through, and how it can be accessed must be clear. Joint budgets may be needed in some circumstances. The type of co-ordinating structures needed vary depending on the complexity of the problem. At the political level, cabinet committees and/or junior ministers with particular cross-cutting responsibilities are common approaches used to drive initiatives. At the administrative level, super-ministries, inter-departmental task forces and cross-cutting teams are the main structures used nationally. At the implementation level, various models (not necessarily mutually exclusive) are available: first stop shops; co-location of services;administrative integration; and programme integration. A strong role for the centre of government is necessary in addressing particularly intractable issues of government concern. Here, the centre sets priorities, establishes the policy framework, engages in information gathering and analysis and monitors impacts. An important catalyst for getting things done is the taking of a user perspective on issues. Where services are evaluated and audited from a user point of view, this helps to prevent organisations from being inward looking. A user perspective can help generate a culture of co-operation and co-ordination with regard to service delivery. Using cross-cutting teams Chapter 5 explores the role of cross-cutting teams, a new approach to the management of cross-cutting issues. They differ from traditional approaches such as inter-departmental committees or task forces. Teams are drawn, but operationally detached, from the constituent organisations. Co-ordination is provided by a minister/minister of state or cabinet committee. They are cross-functional in their approach to change, cutting across existing vertical hierarchies. Clarifying purpose and accountabilities is an important early task for cross-cutting teams.Building trust and respect, within the team and with the implementing agencies, is important in furthering an agreed agenda for action. Time needs to be taken early on to clarify who does what and who is responsible for what. Teams need to establish effective ground rules for behaviour. They also need to set and monitor interim milestones to check progress. Assigning the right people to teams and ensuring that they have the necessary upports(accommodation, secretarial, IT) to get on with the job is vital to their success. Human resource management policies in organisations must be adapted to encourage participation on cross-cutting teams as a developmental opportunity for staff. A blend of skills and experience is needed on teams. Where appropriate, the inclusion on the team+ of participants from key groupings, such as the community and voluntary sector, can be helpful. Teams can only do so much themselves. Getting things done through others is crucial for implementation. Within the team, members can be assigned the task of building up relationships with particular groups. Outside the team, the assignment by organisations of staff who can liase with the team and promote change in their own organisations can be helpful. So too is ensuring that agreed tasks are incorporated into divisional and unit business plans. Lessons learned In Chapter 6 a number of detailed lessons learned from experience are summarised. In general, lack of effective co-ordination is probably one of the most commonly heard complaints about public service delivery. A number of initiatives are now underway to tackle difficult cross-cutting issues and improve co-ordination. Central to their success is a sound understanding of the incentives operating on individuals and organisations to act as they do. Awareness is needed of the opportunities that exist to promote better joint working to arrive at joint solutions to the challenges faced. Structural, process and cultural factors all need to be addressed if effective, well co-ordinated government of cross-cutting issues is to be achieved.

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