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Competencies Map
Competencies in public policy and management proposed by NASPAA, UNDESA/IASIA and Treasury Board of Canada

This site organizes, by public policy and management subject, the competencies for graduates of Masters-level public policy and public administration programs proposed by two standards bodies (The Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA, 2012, pp 69-71) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration Task Force on Standards of Excellence for Public Administration Education and Training (UNDESA/IASIA, 2008, pp 9-10)) and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (see Key Leadership Competencies). See also Developing Policy Competencies - Facilitating the transition from academic to professional (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 2010). A discussion of these three exercises in identifying competencies can be found in Academic Respectability Meets Professional Utility (Clark and Pal, 2011). 

Although some of the NASPAA and UNDESA/IASIA competencies require instruction in more than one subject (see Competencies and Instructional Course-Weeks), in the Competency Map below, each competency is listed only once, under its primary subject.  

Each subject can be associated with one or other of the five NASPAA Domains of Universal Required Competencies (Standard 5.1). The NASPAA Competency Domains are indicated with the following symbols:

CD1 - to lead and manage in public governance;                  
CD2 - to participate and contribute to the policy process;
CD3 - to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions;
CD4 - to articulate and apply a public service perspectives; and
CD5 - to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.



Analysis and Skills

 Policy and Management Analysis (CD1)

  Apply public management models and organization theory (NASPAA, CD1)
  Appraise the organizational environment, both internal and external, as well as the culture, politics and institutional setting (NASPAA, CD1)
  Manage contracts and public-private partnerships (NASPAA, CD1)
  Manage projects (NASPAA, CD1)
  The delivery of public goods and services (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Plan strategy (NASPAA, CD3)
  Reflects a commitment to citizens and clients in own and division activities (TBS)
  Understand the relationships between public policy, whether proposed or enacted, and leadership and management in implementation (NASPAA, CD1)
  Frames division direction with a thorough understanding of the directorate’s priorities (TBS)
  Seeks clarification and direction from supervisor, as required (TBS)
  Identifies interdependencies in cross-functional projects (TBS)
  Translates vision and policy into concrete work activities
  Designs initiatives to enhance operational efficiency (TBS)
  Redesigns the division’s work activities to meet changing departmental needs (TBS)
  Designs division work plans based on the big picture (TBS)
  Sets realistic timelines and clear accountabilities for managers (TBS)
  Motivation and design of public sector organizations (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Organization and management concepts and behavior (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Srategic Planning (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Develops division strategies, based on the departmental vision and the supervisor's direction (TBS)
  Follows through on the division’s business plan from planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating to reporting (TBS)
  Responds decisively and quickly to emerging opportunities or risks (TBS)
  Guides division projects and resources to avoid obstacles (TBS)
  Manages resources to maximize output (TBS)
  Sets challenging but realistic goals (TBS)
  Identifies division limits and resource requirements for workload (TBS)
  Manages the division’s workload through prudent resource planning and prioritizing (TBS)
  Shifts priorities and adapts division work plans, as required (TBS)
  Heeds early warning signals and advises the DG and others, as needed (TBS)
  Promoting equity in service delivery (UNDESA/IASIA)

 Economic Analysis (CD3)

 Quantitative Methods (CD3)

  Employ analytical tools for collecting, analyzing, presenting, and interpreting data, including appropriate statistical concepts and techniques (NASPAA, CD3)

 Analytic Methods (CD3)

  Understand and apply theories of decision-making and models (NASPAA, CD3)
  Decision-making and problem-solving (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Management of projects and contracts (UNDESA/IASIA)

 Leadership Skills (CD1, CD5)

  Lead and manage people effectively, whether volunteers or compensated, fostering team building, commitment, creativity, and performance (NASPAA, CD1)
  Lead, manage, and serve a diverse workplace and citizenry (NASPAA, CD1)
  Resolve conflict and negotiate (NASPAA, CD1)
  Facilitate: Actively and effectively elicits information, views, input, suggestions, and involvement of others in pursuit of common goals; builds actionable consensus (NASPAA, CD5)
  Negotiate: Discerns the interests and values of others; surfaces assumptions; secures agreement on ground rules and tolerable outcomes; gains cooperation of others to accomplish goals (NASPAA, CD5)
  Conflict prevention and resolution strategies (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Development of high performing organizations (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Leading institutional and organizational transformation (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Demonstrate flexibility: adapts behavior and work methods to differences (in thought, communication style, perspective, age, interests, fairness or some other variable); to new information, to changing conditions and to unexpected events (NASPAA, CD5)
  Demonstrate self-knowledge: awareness of one’s own stylistic preferences for relating to others, communicating with others, making decisions, managing yourself in groups, and the impact on relationships and your ability to influence others (NASPAA, CD5)
  Evidence sensitivity and responsiveness to beliefs and behaviors associated with differences among people because of their ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, physical characteristics, religion, age, etc. (NASPAA, CD5)
  Relate to all kinds of people and develop appropriate rapport that leads to constructive and effective relationships; finds common ground with a wide range of stakeholders (NASPAA, CD5)
  Work productively in teams: Interacts effectively in a team, demonstrating composure, professionalism and effective working relationships, including understanding others’ priorities and concerns and sharing information, expertise and resources (NASPAA)
  Optimizes diversity among team members to build strong teams with complementary strengths (TBS)
  Shares information vertically and horizontally (TBS)
  Promotes collaboration among supervisors on related projects (TBS)
  Encourages open constructive discussion of diverse perspectives (TBS)
  Recognizes opportunities to enhance outcomes through partnerships (TBS)
  Manages group dynamics in a diverse workforce within the unit and across projects (TBS)
  Gives credit for the contributions of partners (TBS)
  Establishes regular and comprehensive exchanges of ideas (TBS)
  Integrates information from multiple sources to form a comprehensive perspective (TBS)
  Analyzes setbacks and seeks honest feedback to learn from mistakes (TBS)
  Analyzes setbacks and seeks honest feedback to learn from mistakes (TBS)
  Teaches and learns from others (TBS)

 Communication Skills (CD5)

  Communicate effectively in speech: Presents oral information accurately, clearly, concisely and persuasively tailored to audience’s level of expertise and needs (NASPAA, CD5)
  Communicate effectively in writing: Prepares clear, concise and well-organized written materials tailored to the audience’s level of expertise and needs (NASPAA, CD5)
  Effective communication skills (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Communicates with clarity and commitment (TBS)

Institutions and Context

 Democratic Institutions and the Policy Process (CD2)

  Describe and work within the institutional, structural, and political contexts of policy making (NASPAA, CD2)
  Incorporate interest groups, executive-legislative relationships, judicial decision-making, and the media in the policy process (NASPAA, CD2)
  Understand and apply the legal context of public affairs, administration, and policy (NASPAA, CD3)
  Administrative and constitutional law (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Promoting democratic institutional development (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Political and legal institutions and processes (UNDESA/IASIA)

 Ethics, Rights and Accountability (CD4)

  Apply concepts of social equity to public affairs, administration, and policy (NASPAA, CD4)
  Behave ethically and with integrity: Tell the truth, keep confidences, admit mistakes, and do not misrepresent oneself, one’s goals or the facts for personal advantage. Behave in a fair and ethical manner toward others (NASPAA, CD4)
  Exercise ethical responsibility when conducting research and making decisions (NASPAA, CD4)
  Understand and apply criteria appropriate to public affairs, administration, and policy (NASPAA, CD4)
  Public Sector Ethics (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Demonstrates Values and Ethics, including the Code, in personal behaviour (TBS)
  Integrates Values and Ethics, including the Code, into division practices (TBS)
  Fosters a climate of transparency, trust, and respect within the unit and in partnerships (TBS)

 Socioeconomic and Political Context (CD3)

  Recognize the social construction of problems (NASPAA, CD3)
  Historical and cultural context (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Acknowledging and reconciling cultural diversity (UNDESA/IASIA)

 Global Context (CD2)

Management Functions

 Public Financial Management (CD2, CD3, CD4)

  Integrates Comptrollership, MAF, federal legislation, regulations, and policies into division practices (TBS)
  Fulfils obligations of accountabilities for unit finance and assets management (TBS)
  Prepare a budget reflecting policy priorities (NASPAA, CD2)
  Identify and employ alternative sources of funding, including grants, taxes, and fees (NASPAA, CD3)
  Distinguish short- from long-term fiscal consequences of program and policy decisions (NASPAA, CD4)
  Budgeting and financial processes (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Allocates and manages unit resources transparently (TBS)

 Evaluation and Performance Measurement (CD2)

Apply techniques for program evaluation and forecasting (NASPAA, CD2)
Policy and program formulation, analysis, implementation and evaluation (UNDESA/IASIA)
Applies and monitors rigorous systems for Financial Information Management, internal audit, and evaluation (TBS)
Acts on audit, evaluation, and other objective unit performance information (TBS)

 Human Resource Management (CD3)

  Articulate and apply methods for measuring and improving human performance (NASPAA, CD3)
  Human resource management (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Supporting workforce diversity (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Incorporates equitable practices into HR planning (TBS)
  Builds and promotes a safe and healthy, respectful division, free of harassment and discrimination (TBS)
  Manages own and others’ work-life balance (TBS)
  Works one-on-one with managers (TBS)
  Supports and defends the interests of staff, as necessary and appropriate (TBS)
  Deals with ineffective performance (TBS)
  Provides regular feedback, acknowledges success and the need for improvement (TBS)
  Coaches, challenges, and provides opportunities for growth (TBS)
  Secures mediation, if required (TBS)
  Balances the needs of employees and the organization (TBS)
  Monitors and addresses workplace well-being (TBS)
  Develops and supports career plans and learning opportunities (TBS)
  Develops HR strategy for unit succession planning (TBS)
  Secures funding for Official Languages and other training (TBS)
  Implements rigorous HR practices and fulfils obligations of HRM accountabilities (TBS)
  Accurately represents the concerns, ideas, and views of staff to upper management (TBS)

 Information and Technology Management (CD1)

  Manage information and networks (NASPAA, CD1)
  Information management, new technology applications, and policy (UNDESA/IASIA)

 Regulatory Policy and Mangagement (CD2)

 Local Government Management (CD1)

 Nonprofit Management and Advocacy (CD2)

  Not for profit and private sector relationships and grant management (UNDESA/IASIA)
  Economic and social institutions and processes (UNDESA/IASIA)
  The implications of the “third party government” (UNDESA/IASIA)


Page Created: Ian Clark, last updated on 18 April 2015.

Policy Sectors

 Macroeconomic Policy (CD3)

  Institutional and developmental economics (UNDESA/IASIA)

 International Development (CD3)

 Social Policy and Welfare (CD3)

  Developing approaches to poverty alleviation (UNDESA/IASIA)

 Health (CD3)

 Education (CD3)

 Employment, Labour and Immigration (CD3)

 Cities, Urban and Regional Development (CD3)

  The management of economic development (UNDESA/IASIA)

 Environment and Sustainability (CD3)

  Identify the short- and long-term impacts of program and policy decisions on the physical environment (NASPAA)

 Agriculture and Resources (CD3)

 Science, Technology and Innovation (CD3)

 Industry, Trade and Investment (CD3)

 Energy, Transport and Infrastructure (CD3)

 Defence, Security and Foreign Relations (CD3)

 Policing and Justice Administration (CD3)

 Arts and Culture (CD3)

 Financial Markets (CD3)

Important Notices
© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance