Democratic Security Sector Governance

  • en
  • uk

In any country, elected officials perform a variety of political and managerial roles throughout the executive and government institutions, all of which are collectively vital to ensure the transparency and accountability of security policy and practice. In this section, the role of each institution is briefly outlined.

In terms of the external governance of security sector agencies, all government institutions have a crucial role to perform and carry the responsibility for establishing and maintaining macro- and micro- oversight tasks on a regular basis. In order for the democratic governance of the security sector to be effective, it is crucial to ensure that the management and internal governance mechanisms of all security sector agencies:

  • are consistent with the values and laws of the society which they serve by providing public security
  • uphold international human rights principles and standards
  • are sufficient to guarantee the delivery of public security
  • are staffed by civilian professionals

Similarly, the government holds responsibility for ensuring the effective internal governance of security sector institutions involving the use of complementary horizontal and vertical governance structures. The level of transparency of such internal management arrangements will also affect the legitimacy of security institutions.

The Executive sets the strategic direction for the management of the security sector and establishment of a broader governance and oversight framework by a democratically-elected government. The executive is able to initiate and lead significant changes in the delivery of effective and responsive security by setting the policy direction for the security sector as a whole. The executive also plays a role in managing security institutions and in performing cross-ministry management and oversight functions. Ultimately, the executive is legally and politically responsible for the performance of security sector agencies.

The Executive’s role also comprises financial oversight through setting budgets and monitoring expenditures (including security sector components); ensuring a transparent framework for financial management; direct oversight of security forces’ policies and practices (including the need to ensure internal oversight components by line ministries); and promoting efforts to engage overlooked or marginalised societal groups by setting, for example, priorities to address the rights of women and children and ethnic minorities, or identifying the need to address specific insecurity issues in specific urban or rural areas. Such procedures should be transparent, as well as promote citizens’ participation in security governance.

The Executive must provide clear leadership and strategic direction to the management of security institutions, and guidance, which emphasizes the clearly segmented responsibilities of each security provider. The provision of public security must be a clear goal and the overarching objectives for each security institution to achieve that end must be outlined. The management of each security sector institution and associated ministries must reflect these objectives in their policies and long-term planning.


Conference Proceedings 3: Governance and Reform of State Security Services

  This publication offers the proceedings of the Conference III “Governance and Reform of State Security Services: Best Practices”. Following the findings of the previous two conferences, participants elaborated current challenges related to refor … read more

Human Rights and Security Sector Governance: Conference 8

On the occasion of the 8th Conference held in the framework of DCAF’s ongoing cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands’ it has been announced that an additional event will be held in October. The event will serve as a wrap-up … read more

Conference 7: Ukraine’s Civilian Security Sector: Reforms’ Progress and Challenges

In the framework of the ‘Ukraine – Security Governance Best Practice and Monitoring Platforms’ project, the seventh conference will take place in Kiev between 29 and 30 March. This conference will address Ukraine’s Civilian Security Sector: Reforms’ Pr … read more

Conference 6: Defence Production, Sales and Acquisitions.

The sixth multi-stakeholder conference addressing Ukraine’s security governance challenges took place in Kiev between 1st and 2nd February. The conference focused on defence production, sales and acquisitions. The objective of the event was to identify … read more

OSCE PCU, & Verkhovna Rada and & Ministry of Defence Visit to DCAF and GICHD 10-12/10/16

At the request of the OSCE Project-Coordinator in Ukraine, DCAF and GICHD (Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining) hosted a delegation from the Verkhovna Rada and the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine to brief them on DCAF and GICHD’s work. … read more

OSCE PCU, & Verkhovna Rada and & Ministry of Defence Visit to DCAF and GICHD 10-12 October 2016

At the request of the OSCE Project-Coordinator in Ukraine, DCAF and GICHD (Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining) will host a delegation from the Verkhovna Rada and the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine between 10 and 12 of October 2016. T … read more

The Foundation for Defence Procurement Reform in Ukraine

The focus of this paper is to provide a governance framework for defence procurement reform in Ukraine. The three core elements comprising the foundation for defence procurement reform are the development of a defence industry strategy, the selection o … read more

Teaching Gender in the Military: A Handbook

The Handbook was created in response to a call to integrate gender in military education and training articulated in the UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security; the NATO frameworks to implement these resolutions; and national poli … read more

Handbook on Combating Corruption

This handbook is a reference guide on available legal tools, the latest legislative and policy trends, and pertinent measures and practices to prevent and suppress corruption. The handbook is aimed at raising awareness of the range of international ins … read more

Democratic Civilian Control and Military Crisis in Ukraine: Legislative Aspects

The events of 2014 underlined key challenges facing the oversight of the security sector in Ukraine. As a result, a series of legal amendments were initiated on a preliminary basis in order to address democratic control and security sector reform issue … read more

Democratic Civilian Control over the Security Sector: Comparative Legal Documents

This publication provides a broad range of examples of national legislation as well as international conventions and instruments related to the democratic oversight of the security sector. The product is designed for stakeholders’ easy reference, be th … read more

Training Manual on Police Integrity

The Training Manual on Police Integrity aims to assist ministries of interior, police services and training institutions in developing their capacities to deliver integrity training to their staff. The Training Manual also provides guidance on how to b … read more

Gender and Complaints Mechanisms: A Handbook for Armed Forces and Ombuds Institutions

This handbook brings together knowledge and experience as regards prevention of misconduct, and handling and monitoring of complaints within armed forces, with particular regard to gender. The Handbook is a resource for armed forces, ministries of defe … read more

Guides to Good Governance: Anti-Corruption Policies and Agencies

“Guides to Good Governance” is a series of small booklets each of which discusses a particular topic of importance to good governance in the defence sector. The main reason for promoting integrity in a systematic way is to reduce the risk of corruption … read more

Photo credit: Ivan Bandura (Flickr)

© Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved

Web Development by Activate Media