IIASA attaches great importance to compliance with various laws, policies, and procedures to ensure that its activities are in line with its objectives, the provisions of its Charter, and the interests of its member organizations.
Risks are always considered and managed for at IIASA when individual management decisions are made. However, in the interest of more systematically assessing mid- and long-term risk along with the appropriateness of IIASA measures to mitigate risks, Council commissioned a review of the institute’s governance, compliance, and assurance processes, including risk management. A governance and compliance expert from the South African National Member Organization conducted this review and reported the findings to Council in June 2017. Subsequently, Council requested IIASA to develop a risk register to more systematically manage risk at IIASA. The risk register is currently being developed and will be presented to Council in June 2018.
Health, safety, and wellbeing
IIASA complies with the Luxembourg Declaration on Workplace Health Promotion and the Austrian Employee Safety Law (ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz). These laws stipulate that an occupational health doctor must be employed by the institute. IIASA has been working with a general practitioner qualified in occupational medicine since 1997, and in 2017 also added an occupational psychologist to its staff.
In addition to Austrian Safety Law, which covers work equipment, materials, and employee health, and includes regulations on topics like the position (height and distance) of the computer screen, the adjustment (height and positioning) of the chair, the height of the desk, lighting, and the ergonomically appropriate set up of offices, IIASA also adheres to:
- The Bildschirmverordnung, which regulates work with computers/screens
- Regulations regarding the training of first aid officers and first aid equipment
- Regulations regarding the appointment of a safety specialist
- Regulations regarding the protection of non-smokers
IIASA is legally required to report work-related accidents. In 2017 no notable incidents were reported.
The institute has guidelines regarding the following Health and Safety issues (detailed in the IIASA Handbook):
- Maternity regulations
- On-duty accidents
- Fire prevention
- Prevention of health risks while working with computers
In Austria, these guidelines all fall under the legal framework regarding Health and Safety in the work place (i.e., ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz, Mutterschutzgesetz, Bildschirmverordnung).
IIASA started working with a new external safety services company in 2017. This company provided a specialist to support the institute’s doctor and psychologist to evaluate and document the implementation of the laws and guidelines listed above. In addition to this, the company also helped to devise strategies for improving employee health at work, with a specific focus on workplace safety (Arbeitsplatzsicherheit).
During 2017, the institute doctor and safety specialist conducted workplace inspections with about 120 employees during which staff had the opportunity to talk about work-related stress and strain experienced at the workplace.
Operating rules and procedures
In 2016, IIASA reviewed all documented operating rules and procedures to identify items that needed to be updated, better documented, or both. During 2017, the administrative and support departments worked on revising, and where necessary, updating the aspects identified in the review phase. New guidelines and regulations were also drafted to ensure transparency, accessibility, and best practice. This process will continue in 2018.
Financial policies and procedures
The Finance Committee of Council supervises the institute’s accounting and auditing activities, annual payments of National Member Organization contributions, the realization of royalties and other revenues, and annual financial reports. IIASA is also legally obliged under the Austrian Association Act and Austrian commercial law to have its accounts externally audited on an annual basis. IIASA’s statutory financial statements will be audited by BDO Austria.
In addition, some external funders require that the projects they contribute to are individually audited. The European Commission (EC), a major contributor to the institute’s external funding, also sometimes performs second-level audits on already externally audited EC projects. To date, four major second-level audits on twelve projects were carried out in 2009, 2011, 2015, and 2017 respectively. All of these were successfully concluded.
At IIASA, financial policies and procedures are in place for:
- Sponsored research and budgeting for proposals (sections 4.4.7 and 4.4.8 of the IIASA Operating Procedures and Policies)
- Procurement, business travel, organizing conferences, and visits from external collaborators and stakeholders (section 4.4 of the IIASA Operating Procedures and Policies)
- A budget planning and oversight process as shown in the diagram below (section 4.4.2 in IIASA Operating Procedures and Policies)
The procedures and approval processes are facilitated and documented through the IIASA Management Information System.
IIASA is legally registered as “Verein” (Association) in Austria with registration number (ZVR-Nr 524808900) and is subject to the laws and jurisdiction of its host country, Austria. These include all laws that typically affect an organization of similar size, such as:
- IIASA as a “Verein”: Austrian Association Act
- IIASA as an organization with an annual income over €20 million: Austrian Commercial Law
- IIASA as an employer: Austrian Labor Law; Austrian Health and Safety Acts and regulations; Austrian Social Insurance Law including specific agreements for IIASA
- IIASA as a publisher and provider of research material: Austrian Media Act; Austrian E-Commerce Act; Austrian Copyright Law; Austrian Intellectual Property Law
- IIASA as a holder of information about people: Austrian Privacy Law; Austrian Data Protection Act
In 2017 the Technical Infrastructure Department created more office space in the General Purpose (GP) building by relocating the communications print operations to the warehouse area. This renovation – which included new flooring, construction of new walls, electrical installations, extension of the air conditioning, and new office furniture – created four new offices that have been furnished with sixteen workstations.
Additionally, a container unit was set up next to the GP building. It has 650 m2 of working space, and can accommodate up to fifty staff members. It currently houses twenty workstations. The container also includes a large meeting room for up to thirty people, restrooms, as well as a common room with a kitchen, and is equipped with heating and air conditioning. The low-voltage power system supply in the GP building was rebuilt to ensure a reliable flow of power to the container unit.
During 2017 the old control system in the Wodak meeting room was dismantled and a new air conditioning system installed, which allows for automatic operation.
As part of a large project commissioned by the host country, major renovation works also commenced in the Schloss to ensure that the complex meets modern fire safety standards.
In May 2017, 70 IIASA staff members took part in the annual Austrian bike to work initiative, which aims to encourage more sustainable commuting options. This was the fourth year that IIASA staff participated in the initiative, with increased participation and interest from staff members seen year on year. Together, the IIASA teams rode more than 15,000 kilometers–the second most of any company or organization taking part in the 2017 campaign.
A number of refurbishments also took place in IIASA buildings over the course of the year. These included measures to enhance resource efficiency.
In addition to the above, the IIASA Staff Association (STAC) formed an Environmental Committee for 2018 that will focus on nurturing more environmentally friendly processes, practices, and activities at the institute in the future.
Top image © Panchenko Vladimir | Shutterstock