Phase E - Improve National Security and Justice Architecture

General Description

The objective of a reform phase is to define how the sector or organisation under reform will operate in the future, assess the relevance of the current situation to the future, identify gaps, and make a plan for closing them. In addition, the focus is to take a systemic approach that will allow areas such as information architecture, organization design, logistics architecture, as well as others, to be included in evaluating the opportunities within the sector. Designing the architecture of a sector or institution from a clean slate is a luxury that most sectors do not have. Most institutions have grown up organically, and have developed in response to needs which have sometime fallen by the wayside or have been skewed by a lack of resources or skills in one area, or even worse by corruption. Disentangling these structures can be at the heart of some very entrenched interests. It may be important under such circumstances to manage expectations early and to offer practical insight into the benefits of restructuring processes. Whilst there are a plethora of ways to tackle how to design the architecture of a sector or institution, and to look at the aspects or building blocks of that architecture, this methodology looks at five key inputs that make up the architecture of most institutions. A failure to pay due attention to core processes and their impact on the architecture when reforming the security and justice sectors will tend to result in flaws in the operation of the institution.

The typical five key elements a reform expert should look at whilst reforming institutional architecture are reflected in the below diagram:

  • Core processes
  • Human resources
  • Equipment and facilities
  • Information systems and Technology
  • Culture   

Tackling organisational architecture issues should be informed by the national and sectoral policies and strategies in the areas of security and justice. These foundational documents with their subsequent reform plans inform what the core functions and deliverables of the security and justice sector ought to be.

However, delivery of services and products should not be the only concern of security and justice institutions, rigorous, systemic and adequate oversight functions should be fully integrated into the architecture. This is where the role of international partners could be key and assisting national partners to integrate governance and oversight issues.

Governance and Oversight

RISK : Oversight is generally only effective if it is designed in alignment with the service it is tasked to oversee. Without this the oversight body risks attempting to carry out its work without effective access, cooperation or the trust of the service it is trying to oversee. This alignment may require the reform of the architecture of the security actor/service itself.

Governance and oversight of the security sector are two slightly different things. Governance implies a greater level of control. Oversight might not have direct control but, in a society with good governance, will be part of a reinforcing mechanism in a virtuous feedback loop together with governance.  For a definition of governance see the explanation box on the right.

Oversight is an integral part of good governance. It is made up of the checks and balances on power, contributes to rule of law, and is one of the many important roles of civil society.

Oversight of the security sector comes in many forms:

  • Multilateral and bilateral treaties and bodies
  • Parliamentary committees on security, defence and the interior
  • Internal oversight mechanisms
  • Ombuds institution or public complaints commission
  • The media
  • Civil society organisations


“Good governance is epitomised by predictable, open and enlightened policy-making, a bureaucracy imbued with a professional ethos acting in furtherance of the public good, the rule of law, transparent processes, and a strong civil society participating in public affairs. Poor governance (on the other hand) is characterised by arbitrary policy-making, unaccountable bureaucracies, unenforced or unjust legal systems, the abuse of executive power, a civil society unengaged in public life, and widespread corruption.”

Governance: The World Bank's Experience World Bank. 1994.

This is how:

This is how: