Mannheim revolutionises municipal activities
Lord Mayor Dr. Peter Kurz wants to make Mannheim one of the most modern city administrations in Germany by the year 2013. The path towards this goal was titled “CHANGE² – Change in the Square“. “Municipal administration must and can be more than an urban service provider in the classical sense. Cities more and more understand their role within society as an actor shaping urban life“, Kurz describes his motivation for the process. In a short film the Lord Mayor as well as members of the city staff talk about their experiences with the proocess.
So CHANGE² is not a service offensive for the citizens of Mannheim. “That would not be thoroughly thought through“, said the Lord Mayor. “It is part of the entire CHANGE² process, of course. But the question of an overall strategy has top priority. So we do not primarily ask: How do we organise this or that process best, but the question is: What do we want to achieve up to a certain point in time and what organisation do we need to pursue objectives on a sustained basis?“
So the subject of shaping and designing has main priority in the CHANGE² process which will have far-reaching consequences for municipal activities. The agenda of the Lord Mayor is based on six fields of action and shaping:
- Strategic control
- Programme priorities
- Strengthening participation
- Sustainable staff development
- Municipal participations Optimisation of the organisation.
These six columns were assigned what used to be 30 projects in the beginning and are now 40. The master plan provides information about all kinds of details of the entire “CHANGE²“ process. The individual projects are described in a general survey and subdivided into strategic, parallel and organisation projects.
By establishing the “Specialised Group Administration Architecture 2013“ Lord Mayor Kurz created an internal management consultancy firm which is responsible for the methodical standardisation and quality assurance of the projects and the monitoring thereof, the consultancy acquisition as well as the staff communication. The specialist responsibility for the projects lies with the respective councils which keep control of their area of responsibility and are provided with advice in relation to aspects of the methodology and strategy. Since April 2010 this expert group has been managed by Ulrich Hörning.
The CHANGE² process has the potential to significantly change and improve the self-conception and the functioning of administration and policy in the community. You can only make full use of this potential when the majority of the employees is actively integrated and participates in the process. So staff motivation is playing an important role in the CHANGE² process. Lord Mayor Dr. Kurz notes for Mannheim: “Most employees of the city administration are motivated and want to shape the city. They know that they have an interesting and responsible task and a safe job in public administration. The citizens have the right to expect that we all identify ourselves with our task. Where this is difficult, I rely on the commitment of the employees to suggest improvements. The CHANGE² process offers a good platform in this respect and the experience gathered so far strengthens my conviction that we will reach our goal to belong to Germany’s most modern city administrations by the year 2013.“