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Senior Advisory Council Review

The Client

Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM)

The Challenge

Changes and potential changes at the federal level required HSEM to refocus and reinvigorate its Senior Advisory Committee (SAC). The SAC was a cross-disciplinary and cross-sector body designed to create partnerships that ensure Minnesota's homeland security. The committee was established shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when the need for initial collaboration across homeland security and other disciplines was most acute and when federal funding of homeland security grants was on the rise. In 2013, the SAC still had a formal role in endorsing federal grant distributions, but federal allocations-and participation in the group-were waning. HSEM sought perspectives about the SAC and answers to several fundamental questions:

  • Should the group's role be enhanced or streamlined?
  • Should its structure or membership expand or contract?
  • hat emerging homeland security needs could or should the group address?

The Approach

HSEM asked MAD to conduct a third-party evaluation of the SAC and to offer recommendations about possible improvements. MAD and HSEM worked together to develop a research plan and approach, which included:

  • A multi-layered data collection strategy, including interviews with current SAC members and contributors, an online survey of homeland security stakeholders, analysis of administrative data and grant guidance, and benchmarking and comparison research of similar groups in other states.
  • Use of qualitative and quantitative analysis to synthesize information and provide insights to the client.
  • Discussions with the client to explore ways that the SAC could be improved within current federal requirements.
  • Development of tailored, actionable recommendations to enhance and formalize the SAC.
  • A full report for HSEM to use in its ongoing work with the SAC and other stakeholders.

The Results

MAD found that many SAC members and stakeholders saw great potential for a reinvigorated SAC; developing a shared understanding of the group's purpose would be a critical first step. HSEM used MAD's research and recommendations to formalize and energize the SAC. An executive order from the governor in November 2013 established the Homeland Security Advisory Committee (HSAC) as a formal body to determine strategies and priorities for the state. HSEM developed background information and governance documents for the group using information from MAD's report. The HSAC has been meeting more regularly and is solidifying connections with a related advisory group at the Minnesota Department of Health.

The Consultants

Beth Bibus |
Barb Deming |
Kelly Lehr
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