DEFRAA NEW WAY FOR A NEW DEPARTMENT
The establishment of DEFRA provides a real opportunity
to shape a new future for the management of the countryside which
promotes sustainable development. This will only come about, however,
through sustained effort, a step change from the status quo, and
the development of supporting mechanisms for integration. This
may require some new mechanisms, dedicated to the task. Rather
than simply adding new processes, it will also be necessary to
amend existing working practices and priorities in order to deliver
the cultural shift required.
Below we set out opportunities for change, under
the general headings of People, Politics and Processes. We hope
these will be useful as DEFRA considers how to take forward its
Peoplethe success or otherwise
of the new department will depend on the buy in from its staff,
at all levels.
Defining inductionsare new
staff aware of what the department is striving to achieve?
Using staff appraisalsdo annual
appraisals enable managers to explain how the departmental changes
might affect staff on a daily basis?
Promoting trainingis training
provided to new and existing staff?
Publish a guide to the new departmentso
there is transparency over how the department operates.
Providing assertiveness training
for those in front line positionsso that officials feel
comfortable questioning the status quo.
Making use of secondeesbringing
an outside perspective can help identify new methods of working
and linkages which could be made.
Providing rewards for those who deliver
new ideasproviding an incentive for staff.
Convening roundtable seminars to
discuss the new approach (with Ministerial support)ask
officials how they think things could change and champion their
Ensuring physical integration (DEFRA
buildings)the value of face to face contact shouldn't be
Making sure appointments reinforce
the new approachnew blood in key positions can help reinforce
the changing environment providing it does not alienate existing
Establish a unit to help deliver
changea unit on its own will not deliver change, but it
can act as the progress chaser and ensure that the cultural transition
is seen as a continuous one.
Politicspolitical leadership can
send the right signals to staff and external agencies that change
is required, and to break inertia with existing arrangements.
Amend Ministerial briefsdo
they reinforce integration or existing "silos"?
Encourage active participation by
the Management Boarddoes the Management Board receive regular
reports on progress and make it, its responsibility to see that
change is delivered?
Framing PSA Targetshow they're
written, whether they are cross cutting and the outcomes sought
all can help integration.
Championing the Sustainable Development
Strategycan provide a vision of what the new DEFRA is about
in a single document, including stepping stones to achieve it.
Using parliamentary statements/press
releasesdo these always refer back to how the statement
on that day relates to the new approach being adopted by DEFRA?
Reviewing outside bodiesothers
outside the department (such as the DEFRA Select Committee) can
sometimes act as a spur for change.
Processesthe civil service frequently
works by procedure and changing the hidden wiring of Government
requires the process by which thousands of decisions are taken
by desk officers to change.
Publishing guidanceis guidance
available to staff and those who report to the department detailing
what the changes will mean in practice?
Championing policy appraisalis
environmental appraisal and rural proofing rigorously pursued
within the department?
Developing joint budgetsthese
can again bring disparate parts of an organisation together.
Reviewing reporting structurescross
cutting issues can require new structures for reporting.
Delivering a new Departmental Annual
Reportthe keynote document for DEFRA officials can report
on progress in delivering change internally.
Promoting change within existing
Agenciesdo these reinforce the existing silo's or reinforce
the new approach?
Looking aheaddo strategic
management teams within the department identify what work, policy
announcements etc. are exemplars of the new approach, or alternatively
represent real challenges and require closer attention?
Defining indicators, targets, timetablestried
and tested approaches to putting the spot light on the need to
Sharing information (IT)can
people be brought together electronically?
Using researchdoes the research
budget of DEFRA respond to the challenges ahead and the new agenda,
what information is lacking?
Demonstrating that a new Government department
is different from what it inherited will take some time. Nevertheless,
the Spending Review, the development of the departmental Sustainable
Development Strategy, and the response to the Food and Farming
Commission all provide significant opportunities to show that
DEFRA is genuinely committed to a new way forward.