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User Executive Body

The main progress in the context of the user getting more involved with the GSE FM was the formation and formalisation of the User Executive Body (UEB) for the GSE FM. The group “represents user interests within the Service Network, participates in annual service network reviews and provides an independent executive summary of user needs which the service providers can respond to”. The UEB is comprised of legally mandated representatives from priority user organisations which have the ability to formally review and provide feedback to the SN, assist in designing viable and sustainable service portfolios, assist in defining the control mechanisms and configurations such as the Service Portfolio and any aspects of the service delivery process thereby influencing the future evolution of GSE FM by maintaining its responsiveness to user requirements.

The chairperson/coordinator of the UEB is derived from a primary user federating organisation of relevance to the forest sector

More specifically the main activities of the UEB are as follows:

  • contribution to service network reviews and relevant reports
  • identification and collation of user needs and priorities for Service Portfolio evolution
  • coordination with the Operational Service Providers
  • by representing the wider user community, contribution to promotion of GSE FM amongst peer user segments

Additionally the UEB initiated and developed the GSE FM Newsletter which became an important promotion tool and assists in presenting the achievements of the SN in a regular manner. The chairperson of the UEB was nominated from the Environment Agency Austria, which is a core user organisation in the project.

A representative from the European Forest Institute (EFI) was nominated as Secretary of the UEB. Whilst EFI is not a user organisation, it is an inter-governmental European-based forest organisation with a mandate to provide information to policy makers and forest stakeholders in European countries. In this context it acts as a critical interface to the user community. The UEB secretary is responsible for executing some of the key activities required and also for documenting the user requirements and the assessment the benefits and utility of the GSE FM services to the users.

In a review of UEB activities, users stated that they experienced GSE Forest Monitoring as a sufficiently user-driven process. The general feeling was reflected by the statement that “the different stages of the service chain allowed the user to interact satisfactorily in setting the requirements, participating to the development and checking the quality of the products”. Furthermore, the UEB influence was considered advantageous when addressing the future evolution of GSE Forest Monitoring. The UEB provided common user statements and offered an entry point for active as well as potential users of GSE Forest Monitoring.

The detailed activities of the UEB comprise the discussion, review and endorsement of relevant templates e.g. Service Level Agreement, User Needs and Standard Assessment, User Utility Assessment, Service Sustainability as well as strategic documents e.g. Service Prospectus Appraisal, Data Access Policy, Customer Care Policy, Annual Reports and Work Plans. Exchange of information is ensured by regular meetings, teleconferences and the publication of the newsletter which is distributed to the users, service providers and to other interested stakeholders.