Advisory Board Meeting 2012

The first advisory board meeting for the ValueSec project was held in at the Fraunhofer Forum in Berlin Germany on March 27, 2013.

Participating advisory board members were:

  • Ms. Birgit Graßhoff of the Ministry of the Interior and Sports Saxony-Anhalt,
  • Ms. Tarja Mankkinen of the Interior Ministry Finland,
  • Prof. Bernhard M. Hämmerli of ACRIS GmbH

The main aim of the meeting was an in-depth introduction of the advisory board members to the project, a review of the project’s work during its first year and to provide an outlook for its work in the second year. Furthermore, the project was at a critical point in its implementation schedule, making the transition from the establishment of the theoretical base for its work towards a technical implementation. Support in optimally making this transition and input in the process was therefore sought.

Major points of discussion were:

  1. The structuring of the decision making process in security policy making
  2. The current state for the use of economic indicators in the decision making process
  3. The current state for the use of societal/qualitative factors in the decision making process

With respect to the points mentioned above the following comments were made during the discussion:

1) One the one hand there is a tendency for politicized decision making were politician’s (e.g. Interior Minister’s) “pet projects” need to be addressed in every measure to be decided upon. This also affects the time horizon under consideration especially for longer term projects/measures, whereas politicians tend to “think in election cycles”. This can lead to the impression that the decision making is irrational or driven by personal politics. On the other hand decisions are to a large extend also fact driven, e.g. with respect to the availability of resources (personnel, budget, etc.) or the threat to be addressed.

The recommendation of the advisory board was that the tool to be developed should be in some way be able to work with the “irrationalities” of political decision making, i.e. provide measures and means for the rationalization of decisions and to concentrate more on day-to-day work as opposed to “big” strategic projects, which are highly politicized.

2) Economic measures are hardly used in the ex-ante assessment of security measures. On the one hand measures to be decided upon rather affect other, personal/societal, dimensions more directly than the cost dimension. Also, in some fields, which rely more on regulation and law-making than actually implementing measures, such as in aviation, the costs for the implementation of measures do not appear on the balance sheet of politicians but on third parties, e.g. airport operators.

3) Also qualitative criteria are not employed in a structured way to support decision making. The main indicators taken into account are legal obligations and the potential influence of measures on the perceived security of citizen. If further qualitative criteria are taken into account, they are more often than not based on the personal background and experience of the decision maker (or consultant preparing the decision).

The qualitative criteria list as presented in D3.3 (http://www.valuesec.eu/sites/default/files/D3.3_Evaluation_of_methods_and_tools_and_the_required_improvements.pdf) was deemed a good approach to structure the decision making with respect to qualitative factors, even though the need for streamlining the indicators was expressed. Furthermore, the increased accountability of decision makers through a structured analysis approach can be seen as positive, i.e. as increased transparency of decisions and the decision making process towards citizens and stakeholders, and as negative, e.g. politicians might not want greater accountability and transparency and therefore might not adopt the methodology/tool proposed by ValueSec.