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  1. 1. BRECKLAND COUNCIL PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY Updated March 2007 Breckland Council Contact: Debbie Shiels Strategic Tel: 01362 656324 Elizabeth House Walpole Loke e-mail: Dereham Norfolk NR19 1EE If you need this document in large print, audio, Braille, alternative format or in a different language, please contact the Performance Team on 01362 656 324 or on email at and we will do our best to help. Date of this revision: 23rd March 2007 Date of Next revision: March 2008 1
  2. 2. 1. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY Why is the strategy needed? In 2003/04, the council identified a number of areas where improvements were required, to ensure the Council was ‘fit for purpose’. Each area for improvement was called a ‘building block’; one of these blocks was performance management. The subsequent CPA inspection identified a number if issues in the “Summary of theme scores and strengths/weaknesses” sections of the inspection report. These weaknesses were addressed in the Council’s Corporate Improvement Strategy and associated action plan (Corporate Improvement Plan). This, too, was recently updated. Since then, most of these ‘building blocks’ have been put in place, and a comprehensive performance management system has been established. This strategy details how the Council now manages performance and uses performance data to develop and improve its services. What is the Council trying to achieve? • To set targets for improvement to priority services; • To ensure that all services contribute to the Council’s overall priorities and objectives; • To ensure that all staff understand how they contribute to achieving these priorities and objectives; • To meet any national standards; • To identify and improve poor performance; • To set and publish performance standards; • To ensure delivery of services and projects to the standards set; • To ensure resources are allocated to guarantee delivery to the standards set; • To provide a resource for managers and members to help them understand how services are performing, and how they can be improved. • To ensure accuracy, reliability, timeliness and quality in measurement and reporting of performance 2
  3. 3. 2. STATUTORY DUTIES These are defined in: • Local Government Act 1999: Part1 Best Value; • Statutory Instrument:1999 No.3251 – Local Government England and Wales : The Local Government (Best Value) Performance Plans and Reviews Order 1999; • Statutory Instrument:2001 No. 909 The Local Government Best Value (Exclusion of Non-commercial Considerations) Order 2001; • Statutory Instrument: 2002 No. 305 Local Government England and Wales: The Local Government (Best Value) Performance Indicators and Performance Standards Order 2003; • Statutory Instrument: Local Government England and Wales : The Local Government (Best Value) Performance Plans and Reviews Amendment (England and Wales) Order 2003; • The Local Government White Paper, Strong Local Leadership - Quality Public Services produced a new performance management framework for local government (CPA). 3. POLICY STATEMENT This Performance Management Figure1: Breckland Council’s ‘Golden Thread’: Strategy will be used to ensure the Council meets or exceed its goals. The process will bring together the Breckland Vision activities of strategy development, in Business Plan budget setting, service planning and targeting with performance information and performance appraisals. 3 Priorities The framework will ensure that stakeholders not only understand performance levels, but also know 9 Objectives what contribution they are making to in ADPs those levels, and what benefit they are getting from them. The Council will ensure that when recording and service delivery aims reporting performance, the information will be accurate and timely. in STPs The outcome of this approach will be service performance improved performance against the service targets, timely delivery of indicators and targets projects and the maintenance of the and development plans in staff performance Council’s ‘good’ CPA rating. staff personal targets 3
  4. 4. 4. STRATEGIC CONTEXT Breckland Council’s Business Plan emphasises the Council’s commitment to the modernisation of local government as set out in the White Paper ‘Strong Local Leadership – Quality Public Services’ and the duty of Best Value. The Council’s Corporate Business Plan 2003 - 2010 The Business Plan was refreshed in January 2006. The plan takes as its starting point the overall vision for the organisation: Breckland: A better place with a brighter future for everyone This vision is devolved through three priorities and nine objectives to service delivery aims across all Council services. From these, service indicators and targets, and individual staff targets, are derived, resulting in a ‘golden thread’ that connects all staff through the services they provide to the Council’s overall vision (figure 1). For more details on the strategic context, see the Business Plan on (or via the link from the front page of the Council’s website). The Business Plan lists the three priorities and the nine objectives, with an explanation of why these are important. There is also a corporate balanced scorecard for the whole Council. This shows a small number of key indicators across four ‘balanced’ themes: • Financial and inputs; • Process improvement; • Dealing with local people; • Community outcomes. 5. BUSINESS PLANNING STRUCTURE There are three tiers of document in the overall business planning structure: • The Business Plan; • The Annual Delivery Plan (ADP); • The Service Team Plans (STPs). The Annual Delivery Plan There is one ADP, covering different groups of services. The ADP contains: • The challenges ahead; • Key Successes • Data Quality objectives • Risk Management • Budget information • Key performance indicators including all BVPI’s; 4
  5. 5. • Priority projects • Council objectives relevant to the ADP; The Service Team Plans An STP is produces for each service, annually. Each covers a discreet service area within the portfolios covered by the ADP. One service manager is responsible for the delivery of each plan, under the overall supervision of the Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive and Operations Managers Each STP contains: • A service description; • Legislation • Service delivery aims relevant to the team; • Service standards; • Local Performance indicators and projects • Quarterly targets for each indicator and project, with named officers responsible for achieving them. • Links to Risk management; • Data Quality Objectives; The projects and the indicators link to personal performance appraisals. Service team plans must cover all council services, with service delivery aims to cover the activities of all Council staff. While the ADP and STPs are reviewed annually, every effort should be made to produce and maintain a consistent set of service aims and performance indicators, to allow performance to be tracked over time, and to demonstrate continuous improvement of services. 6. CONSULTATION AND PARTNERSHIP ARRANGEMENTS Partnership arrangements Where partnership arrangements are in place for service delivery, the Council will: • Consult partners on any relevant targets; • Ensure contracts allow for amendments to performance indicators and targets; • Make clear and agree with the contractor arrangements for monitoring performance; • Insist of validation of quality of data provided by any partners. Other partner organisations and key stakeholders should also be consulted regarding Council Priorities. 5
  6. 6. Public Consultation Priorities are put to public consultation through the Citizens’ Panel, the Council’s ‘Voice’ publication or by other means, and tested on an annual basis. Performance against these is fed back through one issue of Voice and through the Local Performance Plan. Local representative bodies of disadvantaged groups will also be consulted – for example, disability forums and the Norfolk & Norwich Race Equality Council. Service standards will be put to public consultation and communicated annually to every household via a ‘Service Charter’. Community Partnerships will be involved in this consultation to ensure that the performance standards reflect the differing priorities between areas across the district. 7. MEASURING PERFORMANCE Performance will be measured in a number of ways • Key targets from the Council’s Business Plan; • Performance targets from the Community Plan for Breckland; • Performance targets from regional or other relevant external plans ; • BVPIs (as set by Department for Communities and Local Government); • Local performance indicators; • Achievement of published standards; • Performance against milestones within projects; • Performance indicators within contracts; • Performance against improvement plans; • Quarterly monitoring of Ombudsman complaints; • Corporate complaints; • Performance against relevant strategy action plans; • Improvements required as a result of audits All of these measures should be incorporated into the STPs (although all of them will not necessarily appear in each STP). Performance targets are devolved to individual staff through the staff appraisal system. Setting effective measures In order to ensure that measures are effective, the following guidance should be applied: Relevant • Does the measure attempt to capture success in one of the organisation’s objectives? • What does the measure tell you about how the organisation is performing? Able to avoid • Does the measure encourage any unwanted behaviour? (For perverse example not reporting mistakes.) 6
  7. 7. incentives • Could you improve performance against the measure without improving performance in real life? • Does the measure allow innovation? For example, does the measure discourage changing the way a service is delivered? Attributable • Can the measure be influenced by the organisation’s actions? • Is it clear where accountability for the measure lies? • Is there an estimate of the degree to which the organisation affects the measure? • Could a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timed) target be set against the measure? Well-defined • Can the measure be expressed clearly, so that it is easy to understand? • Does the measure have an unambiguous definition, so that it can be collected consistently? Timely • Does the measure provide information in time for action to be taken? • What’s the lag between the event and information becoming available? • Does the measure provide information frequently enough to track changes and take actions? Reliable • Is the performance measure accurate enough for its use? • Has the measure been checked by appropriate specialists? (For example, statisticians, social researchers, accountants or scientists) • Is the measure responsive to change? Will it show significant changes in performance? Will the measure change because of random ‘noise’ rather than actual performance? Comparable • Does the measure allow comparison with past performance? • Does the measure allow comparison with other organisations delivering a similar service? Verifiable • Given the documentation could an objective outsider come up with the same results? • Does documentation exist so that the process behind the measure can be validated? Further guidance can be found in ‘A Measure of Success’, the Council’s guide to performance management at A Measure of Success (or from the Council’s Policy and Performance team). 7
  8. 8. 8. APPROVING BUSINESS PLANS Business Plan: A new business plan will be drafted during 2009/10, for approval from 1st April 2010. The plan will be approved by Full Council. Annual Delivery Plan: This will be reviewed each year and amended as appropriate. Plans for the forthcoming year will be prepared in time for submission to (at the latest) the last available Overview and Scrutiny Commission, Cabinet and Full Council meetings before the start of the new financial year. This plan will be subject to change during the year to reflect a) actual outturn on BVPI’s and LPI’s b) revised targets against those outturns if necessary c) unforeseen changes to the work programme (such as future changes in legislation) Service Team Plan: These will be reviewed each year and amended as appropriate, incorporating as appropriate any changes made to the ADP. The STPs will be approved by the relevant service manager, operations manager, and Deputy Chief Executive (or his/her nominated officer). These plans will be subject to change during the year to reflect a) unforeseen changes to the work programme (such as future changes in legislation) Amending plans during the year Additions, amendments or deletions to the ADP and/or STPs can only be made through a reference to a meeting of the Hothouse Panel. Such references can be made by the Performance Clinic or, between clinics, by an Operations Manager. BVPI targets may not under any circumstances be amended during the year, and must be formally agreed by Full Council before the 30th June during the relevant financial year (but should be included in the ADP before the start of the financial year). 9. INTEGRATION WITH FINANCIAL PLANNING It is important that the Council’s business planning framework and performance reporting mechanisms are closely integrated with the financial planning and reporting systems. This will ensure that adequate resources are available to achieve targets and project milestones, and that resources can be re-allocated as appropriate. Each year, proposed projects are considered and agreed by the Council’s ‘Star Chamber’ of senior officers and members. All proposed projects must be considered by the Chamber, and only those approved by the Chamber may be included in the ADP and STPs. During the year, budget monitoring reports are submitted to the quarterly performance clinics, to check available resources against the achievement of 8
  9. 9. performance targets. Any financial resources released during the year may be re- allocated through a ‘mini-Star Chamber’. New projects or responsibilities established through this process must be added to the ADP or relevant STPs (with appropriate targets and milestones) – these additions are made at a meeting of the Hothouse Panel. 10. ELECTRONIC PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT All elements of the Council’s performance management framework (priorities, objectives, service aims, indicators, projects and targets) will be listed in the Council’s electronic performance management system (currently the TEN performance management system). Data in this system will be updated at least quarterly, across all indicators relevant for the quarter. This system will be used and developed to: • Allow managers to enter data against performance indicators and projects for which they are responsible; • Build up a cumulative database of Council performance data; • Provide reports for the quarterly performance clinics; • Provide reports for the monthly portfolio meetings • Provide an interactive database of performance information with access for all staff and members; • Verify data quality. • Record achievements during the year 11. OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES AND GUIDANCE Operational procedures and guidance will be developed by each applicable service, and made available to all relevant staff for the councils business critical software applications. 12. ACHIEVEMENTS Council staff achieve a great deal, but during the process of producing the self- assessment for the CPA, it was evident that we do not communicate and share our successes. These will now be celebrated quarterly through the performance clinics for: • Communication across the Council and external publications; • Preparation for the next CPA (or other inspection). Documentary evidence of achievement will be linked to the TEN performance management software system. 13. PERFORMANCE MONITORING Performance will be monitored formally: Monthly – through the Hothouse Panel (membership as defined in relevant Terms of Reference). The Panel will: 9
  10. 10. • Consider improvement plans presented by service managers referred by the Performance Clinic where two consecutive performance targets have been missed; • Receive progress reports on performance plans for services already ‘hothoused’; • Consider any requests to change the ADP, STPs and targets. Monthly – through monthly Portfolio Meetings (Operations Manager and Portfolio Holder(s) with relevant service managers). The meetings will: • Monitor progress against ADP, STPs and complaints/compliments (as a minimum); • Identify any STP issue that required the attention of either the Performance Clinic or Hothouse • Challenge validity of data and recording systems; • Recognise and analyse good performance and communicate learning and best practice, within the organisation and externally; • Act as a mini-peer review group considering the wider role of the service and its contribution to the Business Plan and national priorities as well as challenging current provision and identify any further improvements; • Celebrate achievements to be documented/evidenced for future quarterly clinics and CPA. Quarterly – through the Performance Clinic (membership as defined in the relevant Terms of Reference). The Clinic will: • Review quarterly reports generated through the electronic performance management system for the ADP (note: STP issues will only be brought into the Performance Clinic by request of an Executive Member or Operations Manager). These reports 1 will cover: o Achievements; o An overview of performance o Details on performance indicators by exception (ie where targets have not been reached or where data is not reliable). o Audit reports regarding performance issues; • Consider steps necessary to recover underperformance; • Consider any amendments to the ADP or STPs • Refer any targets that have been missed on two consecutive quarters to the Hothouse Panel; • Consider financial monitoring reports; • Consider a report on complaints and compliments recorded through the Corporate Complaints Scheme. • Recognise and analyse good performance and communicate learning and best practice, within the organisation and externally; • Act as a mini-peer review group considering the wider role of the service and its contribution to the Business Plan and national priorities as well as challenging current provision and identifying any further improvements. 1 Performance reports will be circulated to all members (scrutiny and executive). 10
  11. 11. Quarterly – through the Overview and Scrutiny Commission. The Commission will: • Consider the quarterly performance reports circulated for the Performance Clinics; • Consider a feedback report from the Clinics; • Select areas (if any) for further investigation and request reports on these; • Receive and consider reports requested at previous meetings. In addition to these formal meetings, managers also use performance information to discuss progress against STPs at their regular team meetings. Any issues of concern are raised at the weekly service managers’ meetings for each portfolio. Complaints/Compliments Operations managers will ensure complaints/compliments are addressed in all clinics, including Ombudsman complaints, and any trends monitored and reported. A report will be submitted to each clinic on complaints and compliments received through the Corporate Complaints Scheme. Success and learning Success should be celebrated where performance meets or exceeds targets, with all officers involved in the delivery thanked. Learning will be published by email, through the ‘Team Talk’ bulletin, and through performance clinics. Officers will be encouraged to help implement learning through shared roles and joint working arrangements. Performance champions Service managers nominate a ‘performance champion’ for each service area. The role of the performance champions is to ensure that quarterly data is entered onto the TEN system (by nominated officers in each service team), but also to promote performance management issues within their portfolio and carry out spot ‘audit checks’ on data quality from time to time, as discussed and agreed at the monthly performance champion meetings. At these meetings, they discuss performance management issues with officers from the performance management team and become performance ‘experts’ within their portfolio area. The Performance Champions also ensure staff provide any other performance data required in an accurate and timely manner, evidenced where necessary (such as outturn BVPIs) 14. DATA QUALITY The Council’s approach to producing and maintaining accurate data is further detailed in the Data Quality Policy. This shows how the Council will carry out checks and establish systems to ensure that data is accurate, and that a proper audit trail is established for all performance data items. 11
  12. 12. 15. IDENTIFIED RISKS AND CONTINGENCY PLAN All options for improvement identified through service planning will have any associated risk/s documented and will be assessed in accordance with the Council’s Risk Management Strategy 16. THE LOCAL (BEST VALUE) PERFORMANCE PLAN The Policy and Performance Team will be responsible for producing the Local Performance Plan each year for consideration by executive members. This plan will include: • Achievements (taken from the ADPs); • Key targets (taken from the ADPs); • Major projects (taken from the ADPs); • The Council’s objectives (from the Business Plan); • What we did not achieve (from last year’s list of key targets); • BVPI outturn figures and targets for the next three years (to be approved by full Council); • Information comparing our performance with neighbouring authorities. While not part of the Council’s performance management framework, the LPP does provide an overview of the Council’s performance for stakeholders and members of the public. Please note: There will be no requirement for a Best Value Performance Plan after 30th June 2007 17 RESPONSIBILITIES Leader of the Council The Leader of the council will: • Challenge performance through the Quarterly Performance Clinics or weekly Executive Board meetings; • Challenge the Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive to ensure they carry out their duties described below effectively; • Recommend items for inclusion in the Hothouse (as identified in performance clinics) Executive members Executive members will: • Attend monthly portfolio meetings and quarterly performance clinics; • Use performance data to maintain an overview of their services, identifying areas of concern, holding senior officers to account and making policy proposals to address this as appropriate; • Recommend items from the STP’s for inclusion in the Performance Clinic or Hothouse Nb: The Cabinet Executive member is lead member on performance and data quality 12
  13. 13. Lead member on performance and data quality The lead member will: • Promote good performance management practice throughout the organisation; • Make sure the performance management framework is used effectively to achieve the Council’s overall policy priorities; • Promote the use of performance data amongst Council members, encouraging all members to use data and the electronic performance management system to investigates areas of poor performance and put forward recommendations for change • Monitor and challenge poorly performing services through the Hothouse Panel Scrutiny members: Scrutiny members will: • Use scrutiny performance reports to probe areas of poor performance and hold the Council to account; • Use the TEN performance management system to investigate areas of concern, and call for specific reports to Overview and Scrutiny where they believe a more detailed investigation is needed. Chief Executive The Chief executive will: • Ensure that a positive approach to performance management permeates right through the organisation; • Ensure the Council meets any statutory duties with regard to performance management; • Challenge performance through the Quarterly Performance Clinics or any other relevant meeting; • Recommend remedies for poor performance and ensure appropriate actions are taken to improve performance. • Recommend items for inclusion in the Hothouse (as identified in performance clinics) Deputy Chief Executive The Deputy Chief Executive will: • Ensure compliance to the overall performance reporting framework; • Ensure that the ADP and a full set of STPs is produced and approved each year; • Ensure compliance with the Data Quality Policy; • Ensure corporate compliance with this Performance Management Strategy; • Ensure that quarterly performance clinics take place and that all the necessary data and reports are available; • Ensure that performance is monitored and effective control mechanisms are in place to ensure integrity and accuracy; 13
  14. 14. • Monitor and challenge poorly performing services through the Hothouse Panel; • Recommend remedies for poor performance and ensure appropriate actions are taken to improve performance. • Recommend items from the STP’s for inclusion in the Performance Clinic or Hothouse • Provide challenge to performance in other portfolios as well as his/her own performance Corporate Improvement Manager The Corporate Improvement Manager will: • Set up and review systems to measure effectively the Council’s performance; • Raise awareness and help to improve the understanding of the Council’s performance management arrangements and its overall framework; • Coordinate collection of data to meet deadlines; • Organise regular meetings of the performance champions group; • Co-ordinate and prepare the performance clinics for the year; • Make sure that data makes sense in the context of previous reports and known variations; • Ensure all appropriate actions are taken to provide and audit performance information for the Best Value Performance Indicators and any subsequent national performance management; • Liaise with Performance Champions to ensure corporate requirements are communicated across the authority; • Arrange for data audits and data checks to be carried out as appropriate; • Ensure the TEN performance management system is maintained and made available to staff and members. Operations Managers Operations managers will: • Ensure compliance with this strategy in their portfolio areas; • Use performance data and team meetings to identify performance issues that require closer attention; • Take responsibility for producing their ADPs each year; • Take collective responsibility for delivering performance improvement throughout the Council and ensuring that the performance management system operates effectively; • Ensure that monthly portfolio meetings place. • Recommend items from the STP’s for inclusion in the Performance Clinic or Hothouse • Provide challenge to performance in other portfolios as well as their own performance Service managers Service managers will: • Prepare reports for the monthly portfolio meetings; • Ensure all necessary quarterly data is entered onto the TEN system for all relevant performance indicators and projects in the ADP and their STP; 14
  15. 15. • Ensure all data reported is accurate and evidenced; • Submit ‘success’ reports to the performance clinics and record on Ten; • Use performance data in their team meetings to track progress against the ADP and their STP targets. • Ensure definitions are set for all indicators to ensure consistent monitoring; • Ensure that monitoring systems and a clear audit trail are established for all performance indicators in the ADP and their STP, either through specialised software systems or though electronic spreadsheets; • Ensure that software applications used for supply of data have the appropriate business continuity strategy; • risk assessment; • audit trails; • verification checks; • staff trained in use of the application. • Ensure procedure manuals and guidance on the use of software systems and data entry are available and up to date Nominated Data Collection Officer (if not the Service Manager) • Ensure all data reported is accurate and evidenced following set definitions; • Enter quarterly data onto the TEN system for all relevant performance indicators and projects in their STP. Performance champions Performance champions will: • Ensure officers responsible for collecting, evidencing and providing data do so within the deadline given; • Ensure that data is evidenced and definitions adhered to; • Attend performance champion meetings; • Ensure data is entered onto TEN by the appropriate member of staff within their portfolio areas; • Act as ‘local experts’ on performance management, encouraging good practice in their portfolio areas; • Carry out ‘data quality’ checks from time to time, as agreed at the performance champions meetings. • Ensure all performance indicators have the appropriate “definition” at the start of each financial year Internal Audit • Set aside audit days for verification of data, evidence and recording systems (any data selected by the authority) All staff • Take ownership of Performance Indicators/Performance Standards and projects as identified in the Annual Delivery Plans and Service Team Plans; • Ensure all data they supply or have responsibility for is timely, accurate and properly recorded and evidenced. 15
  16. 16. 18. SUCCESS MEASURES The achievement and success of this policy will be measured through: • Monthly portfolio meetings held across all services; • Quarterly performance clinics held with all clinic members attending; • Monthly Hothouse Panel meetings held; • TEN system populated with all relevant performance data; • TEN system used by staff and members; • Demonstrable improvements in performance across all services. Debbie Shiels Corporate Improvement Manager 23rd march 2007 16
  17. 17. ACTION PLAN 2006/2007 Action Responsible Complete by Officer Identify all ‘responsible officers’ for Service October 2006 the purposes of performance Managers Achieved management/data quality Amend job descriptions for selected Service March 31st 2007 posts to include performance Managers Deferred until the outcome management/data quality issues of the HR Business Case is determined Ensure the Appraisal Scheme Service 31st March 2007 accounts for performance Managers Data Quality built into STP’s management/data quality duties 2007/8 – link to Achieved Data Quality to be included as part of Mark Finch December 2006 Corporate Risk Management Achieved arrangements Review partnership arrangements for Service 31st March 2007 data quality requirements and review Managers contracts to ensure verification included Train ‘responsible officers’ in data Debbie Shiels December 2006 quality Revised – new set of Performance Champions identified. Need Job Descriptions amending Review of Guidance manuals Service 31st March 2007 Managers Achieved Develop Data Sharing Protocols with Service 31st March 2007 key partners/agencies Managers Achieved Develop a programme of training for Debbie Shiels July 2006 members and officers on Achieved performance management and the TEN system. Develop TEN system to make full Debbie Shiels October 2006 information available on the intranet Achieved Develop TEN system to enable a Debbie Shiels 31st March 2007 public interactive performance page No longer required. Not on the council’s website possible with Ten ACTION PLAN 2007/2008 Action Responsible Complete Officer by Roll out training to new team of performance D Shiels July 2007 champions Monitor progress of the HR & Payroll Business Case D Shiels March (CREATE) with regard to reviewing job descriptions 2008 for corporate issues including data quality responsibilities Ensure data quality is identified as considered on the D Shiels October risk register 2007 Ensure the teams web pages and intranet pages D Shiels April 2007 reflect latest issues 17
  18. 18. Action Responsible Complete Officer by Develop and roll out a 2 monthly drop-in for D Shiels 30th June Service/Key Managers and any other interested 2007 parties re: Performance Management and Business Planning Organise the annual Expo for Performance D Shiels December Management and Business Planning (open invitation 2007 to all other services to participate) 18