Operational Guidance Notes

The Operational Guidance Notes are a series of tools that ISSAT has developed to cover the whole Security and Justice Sector Reform Project cycle. They are designed to supply ISSAT personnel with a structural, overarching logic encouraging coherent tackling of SSR challenges. Each OGN contains steps or activities to be considered while implementing; concrete examples on particular issues and potential risks are highlighted throughout the process.

  • Assessment

    • ISSAT Assessment OGN: Overview for Security and Justice Assessments

      This note provides an overview for the series of Operational Guidance Notes (OGNs) on Security and Justice Assessments produced by the International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT). It is designed to be read as an introduction to the OGNs and includes the overarching principles that should be adhered to throughout the assessment process.

      Operational Guidance Note
    • ISSAT Assessment OGN: Processing a Security & Justice Assessment Proposal

      This is the first OGN in the assessment series. It covers issues to be taken into account when first receiving a request to assist with a security and justice assessment. It provides an overview of the main steps that you should consider in order to ensure that you have as clear a picture as possible of what is required in order to start planning, as well as gathering initial information. It assumes that the request has come from a donor, but that the national partners will be brought into the process as soon as possible, in line with commitments under the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action.

      Operational Guidance Note
    • ISSAT Assessment OGN: Planning a Security & Justice Assessment

      This is the second OGN in the assessment series. It covers issues to be taken into account when planning a security and justice assessment once a decision has been made to initiate it. It provides an overview of the planning process and the main operational steps. Because you need to know how you are going to conduct your assessment in order to be able to plan for it, this OGN needs to be read in conjunction with the third OGN in this series: Conducting an Assessment.

      Operational Guidance Note
    • ISSAT Assessment OGN: Conducting a Security and Justice Assessment

      This is the third OGN in the assessment series. It covers issues to be taken into account when conducting an assessment. The approach should not be prescribed, but developed in line with the specific context and purpose of each assessment. This OGN does not set out a series of detailed steps or lists of questions to ask, but instead provides direction on good practice approaches and ideas on how to undertake different aspects of the assessment. You should use this as guidance when determining the specific methodology for your assessment.

      Operational Guidance Note
    • ISSAT Assessment OGN: Following on from a Security and Justice Assessment

      This is the fourth OGN in the assessment series. It covers the process of finalising and integrating the recommendations of the assessment and serves to a) provide the link between the assessment and subsequent justice and security donor support activities, and b) ensure that the lessons learned during the assessment process can be used constructively in the future. If the assessment is to determine a support programme, then this OGN should be read in conjunction with the ISSAT OGN series on Programme Design.

      Operational Guidance Note
    • ISSAT OGN - Security and Justice Sector Reform Training Needs Analysis

      A security and justice reform (SSR) process will at times lead to a discussion on the need to change the roles and responsibilities of different actors and institutions involved in the provision, management or oversight of security and justice services. Such changes may result in ‘training gaps’ or new training needs or demand for new training programmes. In this context, a undertaking a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) will contribute to the SSR planning process, help identify training needs and support a structured reform of the security and justice sector.

      This note provides guidance on the procedure for conducting an analysis of security and justice training needs. While it does not focus on any particular security or justice actor, or oversight actors, this note highlights the political risks and technical difficulties involved in a TNA in a SSR setting.

      Operational Guidance Note
    • ISSAT Programme Implementation OGN: The Security and Justice Sector Reform Advisor

      Advisors have become an integral and important part of the diplomatic, development and security landscape that is put in place by bilateral and multilateral donors in developing and conflict-affected countries. There are many different types of advisors. These include:
      political advisors; development advisors specialising in many disciplines from governance through education and health to conflict prevention; security and justice advisors, encompassing national security, defence, security sector transformation and justice sector reform. Some focus in highly technical fields such as human resources or direct budget support. Others, depending on their responsibilities and levels of advice, are designated “strategic”, “senior” or “special” advisors. Although the organisational and security-development contexts within which advisors work may vary, there are a number of common and unique qualities, attributes and characteristics that set them apart from their counterparts working in political, diplomatic, development or security staff appointments. Like any professional a good advisor also needs good advice and guidance.

      Operational Guidance Note
    • ISSAT Programme Implementation OGN: Defence Transformation

      By Defence Transformation (DT), we mean major and long lasting changes to the structure, functioning and ethos of the defence sector of a country. DT is therefore more extensive than simple incremental improvement to a country’s defence sector, such as happens all over the world. It also typically occurs after a major political conflict or crisis, usually involving violence, and often on a large scale. DT is thus more ambitious than the reorganisation of defence sectors following peaceful transitions, such as those in Eastern Europe after 1989. DT should be viewed as a component of a whole security and justice transformation process.

      Operational Guidance Note
    • Evaluation

      We are in the process of transitioning our guidance notes from discrete PDF documents to an integrated online methodology. This will allow us to constantly refine and improve our guidance based on practical experience, and include with the guidance a set of tools, case studies and examples that will make the guidance easier to understand and apply. You will still be able to download a PDF version of most content so you can use it as a reference when you're offline, but the online resource will be the most up to date and complete.

      Evaluation is one of the first areas of guidance we have developed using this new approach. The content and interface are still very much under development, but you can have a sneak preview by following this link:


      As always we are eager for your feedback. It is only with your help that we can make this a truly invaluable resource for you.

      Operational Guidance Note