Evaluation and reporting Baseline review Target setting Political commitment Implementation and Monitoring Integrated management system Organisational setup Involvement and communication

Introduction to Organisational Setup

Integrated management cannot function without structured processes, a system. On the other hand, a system itself cannot function without people behind it. An IMS requires people who know their responsibilities and people who work together towards common goals in accordance to a certain plan.

Many cities already have elements of an environmental management system (EMS) in place, or have established procedures that enable them to meet legal requirements. Nevertheless, it is rare to find an organizational setup which connects all direct responsibilities and indirect aspects of a local authority with regard to environment or sustainable development.

The structure of the IMS should incorporate and make use of the existing structures in municipal administration, and not the other way around. The core parts of the organizational setup are a coordination team and a cross-departmental coordination board. The coordination team is preferably arranged centrally within the administration to manage the coordination of the system. The coordination board is responsible for supervising the whole IMS .

Sustainable development is a challenging and complex objective that requires special and updated knowledge. Capacity-building for the staff involved is therefore an important aspect within the organizational setup.

The organizational structure

A well-coordinated and coherent management solves not only potential conflicts, but further provides the opportunity to strengthen different sectoral policies. For this reason, it is important to perform a system review in order to gain a broad vision of the starting point. In the system review, a thorough analysis is being carried out of existing management instruments, roles and responsibilities, reporting routines and stakeholders involved, etc. The system review should be performed as part of the baseline review. Read more in the section about the baseline review

The characteristics of an ideal organizational structure could be described as:

  • Flat hierarchy with focus on informal organization
  • Transparency and active information policy towards the public (good service for the customer is more important than to fulfill bureaucratic rules)
  • Management style is cooperative and staff oriented with clear objectives in all departments. Superiors are positive examples with regard to engagement, creativity and motivation
  • Employees are encouraged and motivated and are given room for their own initiatives and decisions. They feel in line with their tasks and do not feel overburdened or unchallenged
  • Employees feel identified with “their” administration (corporate identity)
  • Communication is clear and transparent and does not depend on hierarchies. Oral communication is as important as written documentation
  • Regular and objective control of results and objectives approved allows to react on time in the case of variations, and to face new pressures and challenges
  • Changes emerging from these assessments must be communicated in order to avoid misunderstandings

The organization of the integrated management system needs to allow for maintenance of the system, communication with all relevant actors and support for political strategy and decision-making. The local administration is seen as the only body able to promise all three aspects. The strategic approach suggests a central position for this coordination function.

The structure suggested below is based on the experiences other cities made in working with integrated management systems, which can serve as food for thought for setting up an organizational structure in your city. The core organizational bodies of the integrated management system are the coordination team, coordination board, senior management, the council and the community platform.

This list of questions is not complete, but it illustrates that within all management elements procedures to organize documentation and communication are needed. The most important aspects to be considered regarding the management system are

  • Complete authorization and support by the council and the senior management, who must feel ownership of the instrument
  • Clarity and unambiguity in the cooperation between various departments and with other participants

Coordination team

The coordination team is preferably arranged centrally in the administration to manage the coordination of the system. Hence it is a central agency responsible for drawing up and implementing the environmental/sustainability programme and the environmental/sustainability report. This role may be given to an existing department or to a department or office specially created for the task: The team is likely to consist of a few persons according to volume of the objectives to be managed and the size of the city. The head of the team is the IMS coordinator.

Coordination board

The coordination board is responsible for supervising the whole IMS. Ideally, it is a group of about 10-15 high-level local government politicians and managers. However, the number depends on the size of the administration and it is gradually expanding together with expanding scope and contents of the system) Participation in the coordination board should follow a cross-departmental approach comprising representatives from all departments relevant for resource management – be it natural, human or financial resources. Participants could represent, e.g., departments responsible for mobility, public works, energy supply, LA 21, culture and social issues, etc., but in every case, the financial department. It is wise to also involve the chief executive officer. This role, however, only exists in some European countries. It is described as senior manager in charge of the administrative organization of the local authority, usually in close contact and agreement with the mayor. Additionally, representatives of relevant local authority services (municipal companies) and stakeholder groups should be involved.

Senior management (Mayor or deputy mayor, Chief Executive Officer)

Senior management has a responsibility to the council to provide guidelines for the draft strategic programme and for its implementation. They have the leading role in the integrated management system as they approve guidelines for the council, propose the draft plan to the council, receive the ratified plan and arrange its implementation. Close cooperation between the senior management and the coordination team is key. The senior management has also the political responsibility of promoting the integrated management system.

Local political representative body ("Council")

At first, the task of the local representative body (district council, town council, council meetings), here shortened to “council", is to ratify the use of urban integrated management system for their city, thereby making the process binding. This ratification gives the go-ahead for the setup of the first environmental/sustainability programme. It underlines the council’s readiness to use the system as a management instrument, allocates the necessary financial means to the administrative units and brings the prepared organizational directives into force. The council also has target sovereignty in the integrated management system. In other words, it discusses and ratifies the environmental targets and therefore sets limits for the consumption of natural resources (use of the environment) or standards for the environmental quality that is being aimed at. The council monitors the implementation of the strategic programme through the local administration and observes the contributions of third parties (local authority services, industry, private households, and neighbours) to the attainment of these targets. Finally, it receives the report at the end of the management period, checks and discusses the results and ratifies the actions of the local administration.

Community platform

The management process requires an interface with individual major actors (industrial companies, state-owned services such as universities etc.), organized interest groups (associations) as well as the general public. At the interface, a discussion platform is required and the community platform can provide this. The community platform (e.g. Local Agenda 21 or stakeholder forum with its thematic working groups) has a supporting and communicating role to play in urban environmental/sustainability management. The community platform should ideally be involved at the following stages:

  1. Contribution to the preparation and revisions of the baseline review
  2. During preparation of the strategic programme: Notification/agreement of the indicators and targets, identification of potential contributions from third parties (non-local authority actors) to target attainment, voluntary commitments from third-party actors to contribute to target attainment, negotiation of a balanced "duty package" for third-party actors.
  3. During public discussion of the strategic programme: Discussion of the drafts, agreement over proposals and reservations.
  4. During implementation of the strategic programme: Facilitation or mediation in cases of conflict, e.g. in the case of non-adherence to voluntary targets by actors and in the case of substantial consumption limit transgressions.
  5. Debate and discussion of the evaluation report.

To find out more about participatory processes, please see the section on Communication and involvement

Internal Auditor

It needs to be a person with profound knowledge regarding structure and competences of a local authority and independent from the coordination team. This person could come from the Strategic Department of the local authority, from a Regional authority or from another city (Peer to Peer Review). Within an annual procedure, the internal auditor evaluates the management process and achievements as the basis for a subsequent cycle.

External auditor

If the city decides that it wishes to have an ISO 14001 certification and/or EMAS registration an external auditor performs an audit of the system according to the requirements of EMAS and/or ISO 14001. See more in section Evaluation and reporting

Managerial directives and procedural regulations

The implementation of the integrated management system is not the responsibility of the coordinator or coordination team alone, but rather that of all departments and municipality enterprises concerned with the process of city development.

In order to establish binding fields of competency for this cooperative process, the mayor as head of the administrative organization and/or other involved senior management representatives must set position-related and procedural regulations or contractual stipulations that describe clearly the responsibilities and competences of every person/department involved in the integrated management system.

Reporting, documentation and communication

It is just as important to document steps taken and decisions made in order to ensure that developments, decisions, and agreements can be reconstructed and that it can be demonstrated to outside observers that they occurred (e.g., training courses for staff).

Integrated management requires that a procedure is introduced that guarantees good internal communication between the departments involved in the management system. A sustainability management system can only function well if all participants acting in the system’s various fields of the integrated management system receive the information they require to meet its standards.

In addition to communication within the local authority, providing information to the world outside of it is very important. This can range from answering relevant communications from interested parties to presenting results and successes to the general public. Fielding questions from the public is already part of the local authorities’ daily business.

What is decisive is how to deal with external questions such as:

  • What happens when the municipal administration receives an inquiry having to do with environment and or sustainability from someone outside the organization?
  • How is this inquiry passed along within the organization?
  • What general paths does the flow of information take?
  • How is information related to the public?
  • Which data are provided to outside sources?

Capacity building and motivation

The expertise of every employee is of great importance for a management system. Employees’ level of competency should be continually improved in particular through training courses as a complement to their job-related education and job experience. For this reason, “education, level of awareness and competency are important fields for the implementation and success of environmental and sustainability management. Key to this is the motivation of staff members. Improving their understanding of the problems to be solved increases their motivation and the level of participation.

The municipality’s responsibilities as an organization:

  • Acknowledge the importance of continual information and further education on environmental issues
  • Take stock of need for training courses, always taking upper management into consideration, as well
  • Training courses for all employees whose activities have an impact on the environment and /or sustainability
  • Raise level of awareness at all levels:
  • Significance of conforming to sustainability policy and management system
  • Significance of the real and potential impact of their activities on the environment /sustainability
  • Significance of their duties and responsibilities for successfully implementing the sustainability policy, the procedure and stipulations of the management system
  • The significance of the consequences of deviating from given procedures
  • Documentation of training courses
  • Integrate sustainability concepts and principles in all departments of the municipality, not only in the environment sector

Along with training courses for job-related topics, employees should regularly receive information about sustainability management and its progress in the organization.

The head of an office or department should coordinate the important work of establishing what educational needs are present among the staff. In this way, course topics requested by employees can be integrated into the training plan, and the coordination team can keep track of the wide range of course offerings. The staff’s feedback on the training courses can be used to pass on information about high-quality courses to other employees and to communicate the contents of courses to a wider public.

From beginning to end, successful sustainability management requires the participation of staff from all levels. Continuity can be ensured from the outset by establishing a continually maintained Intranet that connects all departments . This medium can provide up-to-date links and information concerning new legislation, procedures, ideas and examples, as well as informing staff on the latest scheduling and personnel issues within the individual administrations. If this is not possible, organize updating meetings regularly for all departments.

Approval of the organizational structure

Although it is not a requirement, it is advisable to have the organizational setup approved by the city council to ensure the legitimacy of the responsibilities and to give them desired priority. The approval can be taken alongside the approval of the targets and the action plan.

Checklist

Annexes

Annex 1: EMAS II and ISO 14001 requirements for the organizational setup
Annex 2: EMAS example: Description of the environmental management representative’s (EMR) responsibilities
Annex 3: ECOLUP example for a Procedural Regulation
Annex 4: ECOLUP – Example of a procedural description to include Strategic Programme objectives into legally defined processes of land use planning
Annex 6: Relation between elements of the integrated management system and organizational setup
Annex 7: Comparison between the MUE-25 Integrated Management System and EMAS II and ISO 14001
Annex 8: Overview of the responsibilities regarding the implementation of the integrated management system

Annex 1: EMAS II and ISO 14001 requirements for the organizational setup

What standards are required with regards to the system? The organization must ensure that:

  • its always has up-to-date information on the impact its activities have on the environment
  • all legislation is observed, in particular environmental legislation
  • environmentally relevant general and specific goals are drawn up and documented for each function and level within the organization
  • an environmental programme with responsibilities, tasks, and competencies, as well as information on the means and the time-frame for implementation is approved and regularly revised
  • an environmental team is established so that all key organizational positions are integrated into the environmental management process
  • an environmental management representative is designated as the person ultimately responsible for the EMS. S/he must be able to influence other departments in matters concerning environmental protection and eco-audits
  • clear regulations exist for procedure and documentation in contact between all offices and departments, procedures and activities with relevance to the environment
  • training courses are conducted for all employees whose activities have a significant impact on the environment
  • internal communication between various organizational levels, as well as between employees who field questions and pass along information coming from outside the organization, and communication with the public (environmental education) all function smoothly

Annex 2: EMAS example: Description of the environmental management representative’s (EMR) responsibilities

The EMR is responsible for coordinating and conducting internal reviews of the environmental management system. The following represents a detailed description of his/her responsibilities:

  • Coordination of the environmental team: preparation, calling and moderation of meetings, distribution of protocols
  • Coordination of reference data used within the EMS: the request for data from specialized departments, a check that statistics are updated, comparison with the goals set down in the environmental programme, publication
  • Regular information on EMS progress for employees
  • Introduction to system for new employees
  • Keep job descriptions for activities relevant to the environment up to date
  • Keep information on the EMS communicated to the outside world up to date (reports, website, environmental statement)
  • Conduct a yearly internal audit in accordance with the organization environmental assessment programme
  • Report regularly on the progress of the EMS, the current state of the environmental programme, which goals have been achieved, etc. to decision-making instances (town council and mayor)
  • Keep environmental manual up-to-date
  • Prepare for EMAS validation or revalidation conducted by environmental verifier

Annex 3: ECOLUP example for a Procedural Regulation

Procedural Regulation for the Public Grounds Department, Municipal Engineering Office, Building Administration Department, Building Regulatory Department, Property Registration Office, Department of Public Works…

In 2004, an environmental management system in accordance with the EU eco-audit regulation (EMAS II) was introduced in the municipality of xy for application in the field of communal urban land use planning.

Mr./Ms xy is, as environmental management representative, responsible for the coordination of the environmental management system. You will find complete information on the environmental programme and EMS structure in the environmental management manual in Mr./Ms xy’s office and in the Intranet/Internet under …

Environmental management can only be successful if all employees and departments cooperate and do their part to implement the measures agreed upon and to achieve our environmental goals.

All specialized departments and offices are instructed to:

  • update staff regularly (at least twice annually) on current progress on the environmental management system and the environmental programme
  • encourage staff to contribute their ideas for achieving our environmental goals
  • collect and analyse the reference data stipulated in the environmental programme and pass this information on to the environmental management representative
  • participate in environmental team meetings
  • implement the environmental measures agreed upon in good time to the extent that they fall into the department’s area of responsibility and make regular reports to the environmental management representative
  • support the environmental management representative to conduct an internal audit, if needed

DateMayor XY

Annex 4: ECOLUP – Example of a procedural description to include Strategic Programme objectives into legally defined processes of land use planning

Table Scheme of Procedure for Drawing Up a Zoning Plan. Municipality of Überlingen

Procedural step Participants Responsible Additional EMAS/ECOLUP elements
Decision to draw up a zoning plan Town council Town council takes environmental policy and programme goals into consideration
Participation of regional planning instances Region, regional administrative authorities
Draw up pre-draft for zoning plan City planning department Director Pre-draft approved with environmental policy and environmental programme
Public participation in early planning stages The public Goals and measures for improvement of public participation integrated
Participation of public interest groups Public interest groups PUGs kept informed re: environmental policy and programme, and pre-draft is evaluated on this basis
Approval of draft by neighbouring communities City planning department Director Neighbouring communities are informed about environmental policy and programme
Further work on zoning plan draft (weighing of interests) City planning department Director Check: is the plan in line with the environmental policy and programme goals? Collection of pre-determined reference data
Public presentation of ZP The public Goals and measures for improvement of public participation integrated
Handling of suggestions City planning department Director
Public interest groups informed Public interest groups
Decision on ZP Town council Check: is the plan in line with the environmental policy and programme goals?
Approval of ZP Higher administrative authorities
Announcement, ZP goes into effect Municipal administration Information in environmental statement

Annex 5

...

Annex 6: Relation between elements of the integrated management system and organizational setup

Baseline Review
  • Who coordinates the Baseline Review as basis for planning of strategic targets and concrete actions?
  • Who is involved in the elaboration of this analysis of the current situation and how is the procedure?
  • Who is responsible of the (SWOT)analysis of the results?
  • Who sets priorities and how?
  • When and how will the Baseline Review be updated?
Target Setting
  • Who coordinates the draft of the Strategic Programme and Action Plan and how?
  • Who is involved and at what stage?
  • When and how will the Strategic Programme be modified based on the monitoring results?
Political Commitment
  • How is the procedure to present the draft to the City Council?
  • Who is responsible for the political approval of the Strategic Programme – the entire City Council? The Sustainability Committee within the City Council?
  • Who prepares and approves the organizational setup of the management system?
  • Who approves and signs the Environmental Report or Sustainability Report?
Implementation and monitoring
  • How can it be ensured that the sustainability goals identified within the Strategic Programme are taken into consideration by all departments of the local authority and within all processes?
  • Who is responsible to realize which measures? Who evaluates impact of measures?
  • Who coordinates Internal Audit? Who is the Internal Auditor?
  • Who prepares the three-year external validation of the Strategic Programme and the management system?
  • Who is responsible for the information of the mayor and the city council, when and how?
  • How are documentation and reporting organized
Communication and Involvement
  • Who is responsible for internal communication (within local authority)? Which ways? Which instruments?
  • Who is responsible for external communication? Which ways? Which instruments?
  • Who coordinates the involvement of stakeholder, neighboring cities, regional authorities etc.
  • Who coordinates the actualization of the Environmental Report or Sustainability Report?

Annex 7: Comparison between the MUE-25 Integrated Management System and EMAS II and ISO 14001

...

Annex 8: Overview of the responsibilities regarding the implementation of the integrated management system

Role in the management system

Who should be involved?

Responsibility

Lead Mayor or deputy mayor Chief executive officer
  • Order to administration to implement the integrated management system
  • Discussion and recognition of baseline review
  • Discussion and decision of integrated management system strategic programme
  • Assignment of business directives
  • Discussion and assignment of internal audit
  • Assignment of environmental/sustainability report
Approval: Council
  • Discussion and approval to implement the integrated management system
  • Recognition of baseline review and approval of priority setting
  • Discussion and approval of the draft strategic programme (and action plan)
  • Discussion and approval of the organizational setup
  • Recognition of internal audit report and approval of corrective measures (if required)
  • Recognition of results of external audit (certification) and approval of corrective measures (if required)
  • Discussion and decisions on basis of evaluation report
Coordination
  • Coordinator
  • Senior executive or qualified person of sustainability department
  • Head of coordination team
Coordination
  • The coordination team
  • may be an existing department or a department or office specially created for the task
  • team is likely to consist of not more than 3 staff persons.
  • Coordinates elaboration of baseline review
  • Prepares draft proposal for priority setting for council
  • Coordinates elaboration of draft strategic programme and action plans
  • Prepares draft of organizational setup
Supervision
  • Coordination board
  • a group of about 10-15 high-level local government politicians and managers. Number depends on the size of the administration
  • gradually expanding together with expanding scope and contents of the system)
  • Participation in the coordination board should follow a cross-departmental approach
  • Involve the chief executive officer.
  • Representatives of relevant local authority services (municipal companies) and stakeholder groups
  • The coordination board is responsible for supervising the whole IMS
Community platform
  • representatives of relevant private stakeholder groups (business, social groups, environment, education, research, Agenda 21
  • representatives of city administration
  • For supporting and communicating the integrated management system
  • Discussion of integrated management system objectives
  • Contribution to baseline review (revision every 3-5 years)
  • Contribution to long-term targets
  • Contribution to action plans
  • Contribution to measure implementation
  • Contribution to monitoring (measures implemented? results? indicators?
  • Feedback on internal audit report
  • Contribution to communication objectives (e.g., dissemination of information in own publications, events etc.)
Internal auditing Internal auditor
Person with profound knowledge regarding structure and competences of a local authority, coming from
  • Strategic Department of local authority
  • Regional authority
  • Agenda forum
  • Expert from another city (peer to peer review)
  • Evaluates integrated management system: organizational setup (system and processes) and implementation of strategic programme and action plans (performance) annually as a basis for subsequent cycle.
  • Evaluates achievements (distance to target)
  • Gives recommendations regarding necessary modifications
  • Signs the Internal audit report
  • Discussion of internal audit results with the mayor
  • Needs to be independent from the coordination department or team
External auditing Authorized external auditor
  • Evaluates integrated management system: organizational setup (system and processes) and implementation of the strategic programme and action plans (performance) according to requirements of EMAS and/or ISO 14.001 (e.g., every 5 years as suggested by the Aalborg commitments or every 3 years suggested by EMAS
  • Assignment of external audit report and discussion of results with mayor
  • Certifies Environmental Report or Sustainability Report