Strategic Management - Baseline Study Moldovan MIA

20/05/2014 - 11/07/2014

Target country

Mandator

Moldova and EU aims to sign the Association Agreement in the summer of 2014, with the intention to make the EU association process irreversible. Important for further process of Moldovan integration to Europe is the Government’s ability to implement current national strategies, laws, reforms and EU standards related to the Association Agreement. Key reform lies under the responsibility of the Moldovan MIA where there is a need to strengthen the strategic management to facilitate above mentioned implementations and reforms.

Moldovan MIA has a broad range of tasks under its responsibility and works closely linked to the Police, combined they employ almost 18, 000 police officers and civilians.

-          Management of migration and asylum issues

-          Fighting organized crime, protection of the safety of society and the national security

-          Fighting the increased cross-border criminality and police corruption

-          Increase of and improvement of the cooperation between the Police and other law enforcement agencies

-          Adjustment to the relevant international and European standards and best practices, etc.

Mandating organisation / agency / department / ministry

Mandate outputs / products

The assignment will be performed through a combination of desk study and field work in Moldova, comprising an initial scoping mission and two main missions.

The ISSAT methodology for assessments will be used during the mandate, adapted to the context and the role of the MIA in the baseline study.

The role of the Swedish Embassy and MIA staff in the team will be discussed and confirmed during the scoping mission. The Team will also include a local assistant/translator when needed.

The Swedish Embassy and the MIA will provide the baseline study team with the necessary background information and documentation such as reports, strategies, organisational charts, project documents etc.  The Swedish Embassy and the MIA will also provide practical back up and support, including assisting with identifying and arranging any interviews or meetings required for the mandate.

Political responsibility for the mission will lie with the Swedish Embassy. This includes leading any supporting negotiations required with the national authorities and preparing the ground for the presentation of the report.

Details on the methodology will be developed further during the initial scoping mission

A workshop will be held at the end of the second visit to present and discuss preliminary analysis and findings/recommendations.  

Concrete deliverables

The baseline study team will provide a final report in English. Translation into Romanian will be the responsibility of Sweden. The report should cover the following key areas:

- Current management environment within the MIA and its subdivisions; management roles and responsibilities (management style, career guide)

- Strategic management processes, long-term planning capability (time management); - Strategic analysis capacity, and decision-making processes; - Performance assessment and performance management within the Ministry;

- Communication within and from the Ministry;

- Strategic management needs in the MIA 2014-2018 (internal strategic framework);

- Needs of capacity building for senior and middle management. Where recommendations are made, including potential tools, they should be clear, focused and practical. The outputs will be reviewed and may be updated accordingly during the scoping mission

Outcome objectives of mandate

This baseline study will be undertaken by the MIA, supported by Sweden, with the assistance and clear guidance of ISSAT. The aim is to provide a basic understanding of the current situation within the MIA with regard to strategic management and planning in terms of personnel capacities, procedures and approaches. The baseline is meant to inform on-going and future activities to improve strategic management within the MIA, as such it is the benchmark against which future progress in this area will be measured.

In additional to outlining the current situation, the baseline study will also make practical recommendations as to key areas of focus, as well as management tools and processes that could be adopted to improve strategic management within the MIA. Recommendations need to take into account the MIA’s current capacity, and the goals of the internal strategy document. While the recommendations aim to be proactive, they must also be realistic and implementable within a realistic timeframe given the current constraints facing the MIA.

The baseline assessment essentially serves three purposes:

-         to assess the capacity of senior management to develop and implement mid-term and long term plans within a strategic management framework. Which specific management tools would be useful to be integrated into the Ministry’s and its subdivisions day-to-day work;

-         to reviewthe Ministry’s and its subdivisionsstrategic management processes, how tasks are distributed, how they are managed, horizontal and vertical communications. What are the processes between different units and how do these processes facilitate change and the implementation of the new strategy;

-         to produce ToR’s for the development and implementation of a [strategic] management system and a complementing/supporting MIS in the ministry and throughout the subdivisions.

The objectives of the baseline assessment are:

-          to review how the Ministry currently undertakes long term planning, how it sets priorities. To map out the current strategic management processes within the MIA and its subdivisions.

-         to assess the Ministry’s current capacity for strategic analysis and management, how it monitors the implementation of reform activities, reviews and assess its services as well as how the MIA reports to senior Management and other oversight bodies.

-          to review the current system of internal communication both reporting vertically and horizontally within the Ministry and the Parliament but also externally.

-          to undertake a basic functional analysis of the Ministry and provide inputs into the on-going review of the Ministry’s organisational structure.

The outcomes and objectives will be reviewed and may be updated if needed during the scoping mission

Start date

20/05/2014

End date

11/07/2014

Summary

  • Further options to capacity sharing should be considered in similar assessments, targeting the mandatory as well. Likewise, linking up recommendations with overall capacity building activities is crucial to sustain gains and institutionalise processes in shifting political environments. To put it simple , ‘no minister will have nothing against building capacity’.
  • The mandate benefited from ISSAT having a global overview of the Justice sector in Moldova from carrying a review of NORLAM (Norwegian Mission of Rule of Law Advisers to Moldova) almost simultaneously. NORLAM was considering options to support the MIA and ISSAT assessment of the Ministry can suggest meaningful entry points to the mandator.
  • The recommendations took in consideration the need to ensure that motivation towards, and engagement in, continuing implementation of the reform is supported in the next few years. There is an immediate requirement to shore up a weak institution in order to create some resilience for the improvements that have been made and provide space for the MIA to work on longer-term, potentially more complicated reforms.

Specific Lessons Identified

Innovative approaches

  • In recent years, the MIA increased dramatically the level of participation in its activities, which in turn was reflected in substantial gains in transparency, which makes for a unique case in the region. Crucial to civil society participation is the Civil Society Council of the Minister, an informal body made up of key persons from civil society that convenes every three months. The Council provides an avenue for substantive inputs from civil society to the MIA, for instance in undertaking monitoring.
  • The Stefan cel Mare training Academy, one of the administrative authorities subordinated to the MIA, plays an important political role, as many politicians and members of Parliament are former alumni. The Academy, though, is seen as averse to reform and its influence might play against the momentum created under the current leadership.

Tags

Success factors

Scoping and survey - The development of a template specific to the mission was vital in order to maintain a coherent framework for the analysis. The template questions were also shared widely so we were better able to manage expectations. The work carried out earlier on in the mandate allowed ISSAT to get to a point towards the end of the mandate where the team had a fairly comprehensive overview of key findings that could be tested out with key interlocutors (e.g. the EU High Level Advisor in the ministry). It also gave the team the confidence to be able to support the idea that detailed design of the subsequent programme could be initiated based on the draft report in order to save time.

Access to information/transparency– The degree of openness at the MIA is remarkable. If anything, there is too much information : over 100 strategies/concept papers across the MIA, all available to be shared. The progress made in transparency is quite extraordinary if we take in consideration that in 2012 the MIA was still perceived as “a closed system that lacked transparency, with Soviet-totalitarian governing practices” (MIA Functional Analysis).

Team composition- The team composition was important. ISSAT experts on team could count on the extensive knowledge of David Clarke, drawing on his understanding of the political undercurrents. This was a great example of ISSAT being able to bring together different resources.

Local support– Excellent support was provided by the advisor to the Minister.

Local knowledge– The mandate gained from the insight gathered by ISSAT during the NORLAM Moldova mission that had started slightly earlier.

Relevance of the report– As mentioned above, dozens of concept papers exist across the MIA, adding to the three functional assessments previously carried out by various donors (including EU). The risk for ISSAT baseline to be redundant was avoided by rooting the findings in very comprehensive information collected from a range of sources and using different tools (including an electronic survey, interviews, document analysis, etc.). From the MIA, the report is perceived as adding depth and scope to the existing analysis.

Credibility– The findings are not disputed in the MIA and the report was ‘generally accepted’, including by those who don’t accept that a review can be performed by a foreign organisation and experts from abroad. Such actors tend, if anything, to question the legitimacy of the approach – not the credibility and validity of the actual findings.

Tags

Outputs and outcomes

ISSAT produced a comprehensive report that evolved from the original request of doing a baseline report to one that looked at the various needs and made substantial recommendations. Note that the term ‘baseline’ suggests that programme areas have been already identified and the study is to see where the process evolved from. This mandate actually needed the programme areas to be identified.

In order to capture a broader array of views, an electronic survey was developed by the team and distributed to key personnel in the Central Apparatus/MIA and the heads and deputy heads of a number of departments within the General Inspectorate of Police, Border Police, and the “Stefan cel Mare” Academy (SCM) following the first main mission.

The findings of the review were considered robust, sharp and timely both by the mandator and the MIA. They point to the exceptional progress made in 18 months in strategic management at the MIA  under the current minister, while identifying gaps in different areas. The report was used by the mandator (Sweden) to develop a programme by DCAF with the MIA, with a suggestion made in the AAR that findings from the baseline assessment can be carried forward by DCAF.

The recommendations are meant to quickly shore up gains obtained so far with the need to sustain reform in the longer term, also against the prospect of a change of tide in Moldovan politics. The question raised in the AAR is whether those recommendations can be implemented in the existing conditions, due to political constraints and limited human and financial resources.

Early on the mission, the team  had discussions with Swedish embassy staff on what the role of ISSAT was regarding capacity building and the question remains if ISSAT’s ‘reinforce not replace’ role was effectively delivered. There were plans to have an afternoon capacity building session with the embassy staff, which never materialised due to time constraints and uneven engagement. From the perspective of the mandator, though, the results were tangible in terms of apprehending methods and tools.

Tags