In a representative democratic system, elected politicians make the strategic choices and define the goals they want to achieve in different policy areas. The leadership of public sector organisations assists political authorities in formulating public policies by giving advice based on its expertise in the field. It is responsible for the implementation and achievement of the public policies. The CAF makes a clear distinction between the role of the political leadership and that of the leaders/managers of the public organisations, while emphasising the importance of good collaboration between both actors in order to achieve the policy results.
Criterion 1 focuses on the behaviour of the people in charge of the organisation: the leadership. Their job is complex. As good leaders, they should create clarity and unity of purpose for the organisation. As managers, they establish an environment in which the organisation and its people can excel, and they ensure the functioning of an appropriate steering mechanism. As facilitators, they support the people in their organisation and assure effective relationships with all stakeholders, in particular with the political hierarchy.