Last edited 04 Feb 2022

Delegated authority


[edit] Introduction

Delegation is a process in which a senior person assigns responsibility for a specific task to another person. Multiple tasks may be assigned to different people, allowing them to take the necessary actions to complete their tasks independently, without the need for prior approvals.

Being given responsibility to make a decision (or a type of decision) is known as 'delegated authority'. In a managerial sense, it represents a division of labour and decision making distributed amongst others who have been trusted to take over significant responsibilities.

[edit] Delegated authority and decision making

On projects, a project sponsor should be in overall control and should report to a project board. The project sponsor may delegate authority for certain decisions to others, such as spending up to a certain limit.

Should it be necessary to delegate authority to one person (or more than one person), each person should feel involved in the project to the point where they gain a sense of ownership of the entire project as well as their individual area of responsibility. It may also be advisable to create a user panel made up of delegated authorities who are consulted about proposals.

[edit] Steps for delegation

When assigning this level of responsibility to a person (or to several people), it is important that their role and level of delegated authority are clearly defined.

For senior executives, there are certain steps that can be taken when delegating authority to others.

  1. Let employees know that the move to delegated authority will be made. This gives employees the opportunity to voice their opinions regarding the change and allows owners to gauge whether or not employees are willing to support the move by taking on additional responsibilities.
  2. Provide training for employees so they are confident in their new roles. This should involve supervision until both parties are satisfied with the outcome of the training.
  3. Make an official delegation of authority to the trained employee. This may be followed up with scheduled reviews. Over time, the timing between reviews may increase until they are no longer necessary.
  4. Recognise the accomplishments of the employee who has acted as the delegated authority in accomplishing the assigned task.

[edit] Planning approval

Local authorities may use delegated powers to allow planning officers to determine whether planning applications should be approved without needing a decision from the planning committee. The majority of minor applications are dealt with in this way.

Designated officers consider the recommendations that are outlined in a delegated report by a case officer and a decision is agreed and issued.

Generally, larger or more complex applications or applications that receive three or more objections are referred to the planning committee for a decision.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings

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