It might seem like critical situations or incidents should be second nature in the United Nations, yet sometimes capacities are stretched beyond any norm or barriers to reallocation of resources put up obstacles. As part of management reform, a dedicated capacity in the Department of Operational Support was created to support the start-up, surge, or closure of Secretariat entities, as well as to better respond to critical incidents.
Change maker: Business Transformation and Accountability
Business Transformation and Accountability (BTA)—a critical pillar of the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance (DMSPC)—is a shining example of innovative transformation afforded by the new management paradigm.
What’s inside? A deeper look into BTA…
The Monitoring and Evaluation team will support the system of delegation of authority (ST/SGB/2019/2)—critical to realizing the Secretary-General’s vision to bring decision-making closer to the point of delivery—and to monitor its exercise. The team’s primary roles will be to share knowledge on the delegation of authority framework across the Secretariat, and to monitor how managers are using delegated authority. If problems are detected, it will work with the office or manager to uncover the root of the problem and work with the Capacity Development and Operational Training Service in the Department of Operational Support (DOS) to suggest corrective actions.
Should the team detect patterns or trends that might suggest a systemic problem, it will share that information with other parts of DMSPC or with DOS, as appropriate, since addressing the problem may require a change to policy or business processes. Additionally, the service will also administer senior managers’ compacts, report on performance, as well as monitor and report on organizational performance against the indicators included in the planning and budget documents.
The Evaluation Unit will help build managers’ capacity for conducting self-evaluations of their programmes and projects—a critical management function under Results-based Management (RBM). It will provide managers with support and skills development, as well as, advice and quality assurance. It will also maintain a roster of professional evaluators, offices can hire when needed.
The Accountability Systems team will work with managers to mainstream two critical accountability systems: RBM and Enterprise Risk Management (ERM). It will also coordinate responses to the oversight body reports and recommendations. RBM will be split in two primary teams:
- one doing the “nuts and bolts” of RBM, such as developing policies, standards and guidelines, as well as, training managers on how to implement RBM
- the other, conducting macro-level organizational planning to ensure an integrated and holistic approach to the work of the Secretariat
The Enterprise Risk Management team will help managers identify and manage risks that may derail their expected results. It will also conduct Secretariat-wide risk assessments to identify risks that might require a corporate response.
The Oversight Coordination team will serve as the central focal point for engagement with key oversight bodies (e.g. Office of Internal Oversight Services, Board of Auditors, Joint Inspection Unit, and Independent Audit Advisory Committee). They will analyze the findings and recommendations of the oversight bodies, then share information with relevant stakeholders.
Continuous improvement will be at the very heart of Analytics and Project Management, analyzing and communicating business data from multiple sources, including Umoja and Inspira. The Analytics team will conduct trend analyses to identify strengths and weaknesses in business processes and produce analytical reports and other products, such as dashboards, for all relevant stakeholders, including Member States.
The team working on Business Transformation and Project Management will take a longer-term view and ensure the UN business model is aligned with evolving mandates, changing operational environments, changes in the workplace and even in society-at-large. It will challenge the conventional way of thinking and look for ways to do things differently. It will anticipate client needs and identify opportunities to innovate and modernize, including, potentially, through the use of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.
This team will also coordinate the Secretariat’s portfolio of major transformational projects. While dedicated project teams will implement individual projects, BTA will ensure projects are designed, communicated and implemented according to best practices in change and project management.
BTA’s functions are wide, yet inter-related, and it will serve as a critical driver for organizational change. It will guide and support continuous improvement and modernization, bringing us closer to a more nimble, responsive United Nations that can better deliver on its mandates, as envisioned by the Secretary-General and endorsed by Member States.