Setting-up the Network
Network management and operational mandate
The delivery of network support services by most NSUs is based on an Annual Work Plan (AWP), although some Member States are known to implement multi-annual work plans.
The ultimate responsibility for any NRN lies with the Managing Authority (MA). However, the operational mandate of the NSUs varies greatly between Member States ranging from MAs that have set-up the NSU, agreed a multi-annual work plan and then largely left the NSU alone to implement the planned activities – to cases where the AWP agreed for the NSU is a) subject to continued scrutiny and modification by the MA and/or b) the NSU requires on-going approval from the same MA for procurement required to implement the AWP.
The degree of autonomy that an NSU has from the MA can be a sensitive issue and it is not unknown for NSUs to debate / negotiate their mandate with the MA. There are no clear and common guidelines on ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘when’ an NSU has mandate.
Member States use different mechanisms to approve the AWP; to assign responsibility to the NSU or NRN members for the implementation of AWP priorities and/or specific activities, and; to review the progress made. Three distinct types of operational set-up for NRN decision making processes could be identified in the 2007-2013 programme period (see list at the bottom of this page):
- Formal (classical) steering committee-type structures;
- Formal committee-type structures involving varying degrees of active consultation / co-ordination with stakeholders;
- Less formal decision-making processes which mainly rely on consultation and mutual agreement, and where the NSUs very often play a moderator or facilitator role.
Operational set-up of NRN decision making processes (2007-2013)
- Formal (steering committee-type structure)
- Formal (involving varying degrees of active consultation / co-ordination with stakeholders)
- Informal (relying upon active consultation / co-ordination with stakeholders)