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Guide no. 07/03: Reliance on cost and performance data for assessing staffing requirements

Guidelines

(1) All federal authorities have to establish their staffing needs for performing their tasks, using appropriate methods. To do so, they may also rely on data from the new steering tools such as cost and performance accounting, thereby reducing their input into determining their staffing needs.

(2) These cost and performance data shall always meet the quality requirements of an analytical assessment of staffing needs.

(3) The lists of products and/or tasks shall be sufficiently differentiated to ensure that they reflect the essential steps in a list of activities.

 (4) The development of the data and the results of the assessment of staffing needs shall be documented in a transparent and verifiable way, complying with data protection requirements. The applicable provisions must not rule out the use of the data for personnel management purposes.

 Background

 Federal authorities have to substantiate their staffing needs by applying appropriate methods.1

A special provision laid down in the German Social Code applies to social insurance bodies.2

Those responsible often do not comply at all or fully with this requirement either. They plead the large input of working time required for an analytical assessment of staffing needs.

We therefore have studied as to whether the assessment of staffing needs can be substantiated with a reasonable input by means of new steering tools, especially cost and performance accounting.

 (1) In principle, cost and performance data are not designed to furnish reliable information for assessing an authority’s future staffing needs. For instance, a clear relation to quantities of work is usually lacking. On the other hand, cost and performance accounting frequently supplies data on working hours which would have to be collected in a similar way for a traditional assessment of staffing needs. If an authority uses this data also to assess its staffing needs, this may enable it to avoid duplication of data collection and to limit the input into analytical assessment of staffing needs.

 (2) The information on working hours needs to be highly valid. For this data to be usable, its quality needs to match that of an analytical assessment of staffing needs. Working time should be recorded daily with a precision of up to 30 minutes for each working unit. All staff have to record their working times themselves and enter them into the system in a way which precludes changes by third parties. General overhead and personal needs allowances should be recorded separately from the times for task performance. As with the methods of analytical assessment of staffing needs, the recorded data need to be validated e.g. by snap reading (multiple moment method) or time studies.

 (3) In order to appropriately substantiate staffing needs, it is necessary to record working hours on the basis of a differentiated list of tasks and activities. Authorities that wish to use cost and performance data for their assessment of staffing needs therefore should ensure, already when designing their cost and performance accounting system, that a sufficiently detailed recording level can be implemented below the grossly structured product level.

 (4) Any staffing needs assessment is to be documented so as to show all steps in the process and the result in a transparent and verifiable way. The recorded working times are as a rule aggregated after they have been entered into the new steering systems. To ensure appropriate documentation, the data recorded in the steering system shall be retained as raw data for the individual tasks. They may e.g. be stored in anonymised form in a separate file. Moreover, the employer/staff council agreements of many authorities stipulate that the data collected may not be used for human resources management. Thus, these tools may no longer be used for staffing needs assessments. When entering into agreements with staff councils, it is therefore recommendable to stipulate the right to use the data for staffing needs assessments. It goes without saying that regard needs to be taken to data privacy.

 1 Items 4.6.1 and 4.6.3 of the General Administrative Regulations on Art. 17 Federal Budget Code

2 Article 69.6 of book IV of the German Social Code.

 

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