Appendix 1: Performance Management Guidance

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1 Appendix 1: Performance Management Guidance The approach to Performance Management as outlined in the Strategy is to be rolled out principally by Heads of Service as part of mainstream service management. It is expected that Performance Management will be a regular feature of management discussions, actions and processes, and the means by which the effectiveness of services is evaluated and improved. In addition, performance will continue to be a regular feature of public Scrutiny Committee meetings, on the basis of exception reporting, as outlined in the Strategy. Alongside business-as-usual management, there are a number of requirements which the organisation will need to take into account to ensure that the Strategy is implemented effectively. Networks There are a number of issues which will need to be resolved, namely: How to get services to buy-in to organisational performance processes (for instance in supplying performance monitoring information). Ensuring that all stakeholders understand the day to day operational requirements of services. Not being clear what Performance Management processes are designed to achieve, or where all the information supplied goes to. Use of different IT systems and processes. Not being aware of data and information available in different places leading to oversight of useful information or duplication in acquiring or analysing information. If these issues are to be tackled effectively, it is important to think about central-departmental relationships at a number of different levels. They need to be good for the day to day collection of data, reporting etc. However, there also needs to be a relationship at the level of policy development and challenging performance. There are a number of approaches to getting the relationship right based on the structure, communications, relationships and culture. These approaches include: Matrix management, e.g. performance officers in services report to Heads of Service for day to day work but to the head of Organisational Development for 'professional' issues. Performance officers physically located in services but reporting organisationally to the centre. 1

2 Ensuring good, regular communication between policy and performance officers across the council. For instance, many councils bring together relevant officers in PM officers groups, or policy networks. Ensuring that Performance Management is seen as a service rather than a policing function. It is there to improve the council as a whole; for that it needs the co-operation of services and it can help them deliver better outcomes in a more efficient way. At present, Devon County Council is undergoing seismic shifts in its organisational structure, therefore these roles, responsibilities and networks will be established in line with the emerging structure. What Improvement strategies are available? Performance Review In general terms, any effective review is: able to tackle the big issues, including the authority s work with partners and other matters that could affect public service delivery and community well-being. focused on the key issues and risks. independent so that it is not compromised by established interests and the status quo. strongly led effective review and challenge requires strong and respected leadership. transparent and accountable. inclusive review should involve members of the community and partners. evidence based review should be underpinned by objective evaluation and analysis of evidence. Effective review requires: support from the leadership of the authority. effective working relationships. a culture of constructive challenge. Organisations need to be aware of organisational and cultural barriers that could impede effective review and challenge and consider a strategy to manage and overcome them appropriate skills, knowledge and experience. 2

3 Review and Scrutiny Review activity is often closely linked with the scrutiny and overview function within councils. This is not surprising as the principles of good governance suggest that the executive functions of a council should be subject to independent constructive challenge. In line with the new organisational structure, there are now four new Scrutiny panels: - People, Place, Corporate Services and Health. The committee meetings have been redesigned and in order to be more proactive have requested that no information only items are placed on their agendas. Members wish to receive the same kind of exception reports and scorecards as service managers, and will be looking to take action or investigate questions of under performance. In this way, members will be more involved in ongoing performance management. They will also have some involvement in other areas of performance, such as annual quality reviews for care homes for example. Scrutiny meetings will also be a useful means of engagement and feedback with citizens and communities; as outlined in the strategy there is now a drive towards assessing how public services perform locally, and scrutiny meetings can help to find out what matters most to local people, and also provide opportunities to interrogate local performance data. Service Reviews Heads of service should consider carrying out a service review if: regular performance or financial reporting indicates there is a problem with service level or cost, particularly in priority areas. information from customers, satisfaction levels, complaints or other citizen challenges indicate there is a service provision issue. there is a major shift of policy covering the service area to ensure provision meets new policy objectives. it is unclear whether a service is still needed. there seems to be a good case for a new service or service configuration. there is a clear opportunity to work with other organisations to deliver common services. Service or cross-cutting reviews should not be overly bureaucratic and should focus on what you want to achieve. Anyone can carry them out but it is important to introduce elements of independent challenge and staff and users should be involved. 3

4 Quarterly Performance Reviews The Strategic Directors will hold quarterly performance reviews with Heads of Service. These reviews may be thematic and therefore may involve discussions between the strategic director and several Heads of Service, rather than reviewing services on an individual basis each quarter. Decision and action logs from these quarterly meetings ensure all relevant managers and staff are informed and can take individual or collective action as required. The Strategic Director will ensure that areas of under-performance where intervention is required are reported by exception on a scorecard style report to senior leadership. There is also scope to publish these reviews as a way of providing information on performance to local people. When undertaking performance reviews, there are a number of important factors to consider: Ownership of problems and willingness to change Do Members and senior managers lead the scoping process for service or improvement reviews and ensure reviews are ambitious, challenging and likely to deliver value for money? Does the review ensure the service is contributing to local and national priorities, (community strategies, procurement, equality and diversity, spatial strategies, regeneration, etc)? Are reviews sufficiently challenging? Do all elements of the review challenge existing views and means of delivering the service and provide an honest and accurate assessment of what improvements are required? Does the review embrace external challenge - other authority peers, partners, stakeholders and service users - from an early stage? Is the review to be focused on a particular performance problem or is it a fundamental review of a service or theme? Either way, is it clear what issue the review is designed to address? A sustained focus on what matters As part of setting the scope for the review, are PIs, consultation, service plans, etc, drawn together to prioritise areas most needing improvement? Do scopes reflect users experiences rather than traditional service boundaries? Is the review making a sustained effort to ensure hard-to-reach and low use groups, as well as established user groups, are able to contribute? Are benchmarking exercises going deeper than PIs and cost data and asking how and why? Are benchmarking partners top performers or services with an improvement story to share? Are any competition or efficiency elements of the review open and thorough? Have optimum service levels and means of delivery been identified before trying to decide who is best placed to provide the service? 4

5 The capacity and the systems to deliver performance and improvement Are lessons learned from previous service or improvement reviews? Where service reviews have driven improvement are successive reviews more strategic, stretching, cross-cutting and user-focused? If previous reviews faltered, are challenging aspects recognised and faced? Are review programmes co-ordinated with neighbouring authorities or partners, promoting efficiency in the review programme as well as, potentially, economies of scale in delivery or getting to grips with a problem that crosses organisational boundaries? Are the recommendations of reviews timed to coincide with the budgetsetting and service planning cycle? Are implementation plans followed up? Is monitoring linked to key management systems? Integrating performance management and improvement into the day job Are Members and front-line staff, those in direct contact with local people and users, involved from the start of the review? Are comparisons with other service providers encouraging new relationships and networks that support change and transfer good practice skills and techniques? Are service reviews helping to lift council performance and meet its key aims? Are senior manager and Members ensuring that each review results in measurable improvements, including ones that users will notice? Are review action plans incorporated into service planning and linked to budgets? Are officers and managers held accountable for delivering improvement? Are action plans reflected in personal performance plans and targets with suitable incentives? Is appropriate action taken if improvements aren t achieved? Self-Assessment Local Government Group Taking the Lead Taking the Lead LG Group s offer to the sector includes a range of tools and support for councils. As part of this there is an offer to all councils to provide, free of charge, a peer challenge over the three year period until March There are a number of possible reasons why this would be beneficial: So as to include a wider range of stakeholders in the review To have a more in-depth assessment than is possible in regular monitoring To take a more strategic focus, considering the organisational fit with changes in the operating environment. To feed into a report to local people The process of undertaking a review with partners has been found to improve mutual understanding and therefore trust and co-operation between the partners. 5

6 How often does this need to be undertaken? It is for each council and partnership to determine what is most appropriate locally. One option is to undertake a light touch review annually and a more in depth one every three or four years. What might the review cover? Some of the areas which the review might cover are: Progress against outcomes. What has changed and what is the trend in terms of economy, health, crime, environment, sustainability, social capital and cohesiveness, equality, wellbeing. Progress in key priority areas Performance of democracy and community engagement. Council and partner effectiveness. Vision, culture, performance management, processes for continuous improvement etc. Future plans. Learning from what has worked and what hasn t. Future areas of focus. How will progress be judged against these plans? How might the review be undertaken? There are a range of ways of undertaking the self assessment, according to who undertakes it, on what timescales, using what method and what information: Undertaken by a team. This could be any combination of internal external, officer, member, clients, citizens, other local stakeholders, officers or members from other authorities, other professionals or experts. Individuals could be tasked to do the underlying research and bring back to a group which brings it all together. Information gathering could be over several weeks, or just bringing everything together over the course of a day. Information can be gathered from existing sources such as performance indicators, other statistics, survey data, audit and inspection reports, comments and complaints systems. Some of these will already have been brought together in existing reports, plans and strategies. In addition, further information could be collected to fill in gaps or provide a more rounded picture, such as interviews or focus groups with staff, clients or stakeholders. The output from the process is likely to be a document of some sort, but for the purposes of improvement, it is often the process which is as important as the output. How can the self-assessment be used? By explicitly taking a view across the whole council and/or partnership, the self-assessment can compare between areas and so identify those where most attention is needed. This may be managerial attention to deal with process or productivity issues. It could have implications for resource allocation. It may be relevant for member attention, having implications for the strategic direction of the council or partnership. It also feeds into reporting 6

7 performance to local people. The most likely result of the self-assessment will be revision of the corporate plan, sustainable community strategy and other strategies. It is thus part of regular business planning and performance management, rather than an independent exercise. However, there may also be one-off actions which result from it. There may also be areas where further investigation is required through a performance review or in-depth scrutiny exercise. Key performance questions There are some key questions that will help us to understand how we are performing which will be different for various parts of the organisation and for different audiences. For example, communities may ask questions about public spending in the area they live in, and what services they are receiving, as a means of making a judgement about value. There are also questions at a higher level about quality of life which citizens may want to use to make judgements about our performance. These are distinct from the questions that managers or Heads of Service need to ask about how their staff are performing. There is a list of key performance questions in the Performance Toolkit. These can be used separately at any time or together in a wider review context to challenge organisational performance, based on the outcomes we aim to achieve for and in conjunction with citizens, partners and communities. Inspections As outlined in the Strategy, certain Inspection regimes still form an important part of how our performance is measured, particularly in terms of the protection of children, older people and vulnerable adults. Performance Management is moving towards a more prioritised, risk-based model and this is an area which is viewed as high-risk, therefore performance and inspection is a high priority. Children services still rated annually by Ofsted, and Devon County Council still currently run 24 care homes which are inspected regularly, as well as providing residential respite units personal care to adults all of which is inspected by the Care Quality Commission. With regard to children s services, a multi-agency task force entitled Always Inspection Ready facilitates continuous improvement and manages the process of full inspections. There are ongoing developments, which are likely to include justice and probation. The team report to senior leadership on all aspects of performance, including qualitative evidence. In terms of CQC inspections, adult services have an in house team, who manage an ongoing programme of inspections and develop action plans for improvement, and are looking to involve Members in the process as well as engaging with clients. 7

8 Customer insight The Customer Feedback Strategy outlines out approach to gathering, analysing, reporting on and making use of customer feedback and insight, which is crucial to our ability to learn and improve as an organisation. In addition to this, we have a statutory duty (which is reflected in our Equality Strategy Fair For All ) to gather evidence on how customers interact with us, including feedback, and examine whether all of our customers are able to make contact with us when they need to. It is therefore in the interest of everyone that contact channels and services are equally accessible to all of our customers. Specifically, vulnerable and marginalised groups may have more difficulty in accessing services and in making complaints about poor service. It is crucial that we check this and address it if possible, and one of the simplest ways is to use the data we already hold on the customers who have given us feedback in the past. This data, properly analysed, could provide significant intelligence on trends over time, and help to identify recurring issues. It is also important to use outreach work to ask for people s views rather than expecting them to always approach the Council themselves. As well as our corporate customer feedback system icasework and the bespoke systems used by various different services, we are undertaking a pilot to test the Govmetric customer feedback channel. This is already in use widely across the public sector and we have been using it to monitor feedback in our customer contact centre, however it will now be used in face to face locations and on the website.in addition, our social media channels and Freedom of Information requests are a valuable source of customer feedback. All of the above is gathered, analysed and fed back into Performance Management to be used either to flag problems or errors or to help us to improve the quality of what we do. The Standards Committee meets three times per year and reports on all customer feedback are taken to this meeting. Reports on Freedom of Information requests will also now go to this committee. All performance reviews will include reports on customer feedback across all of the channels, and will be reported to Scrutiny committees by exception. 8

9 Single Data List From April 2011 local authorities are no longer accountable to government under such assessment regimes and the National Indicator Set has been discontinued. The government has developed the Single Data List which is described as the minimum data reporting requirement demanded of local authorities. The government has stated that this list will not be used to set targets or manage the performance of local authorities. On 13 April 2011, the Department of Communities and Local Government published the final version of the Single Data List (SDL) for Local Authorities. It was stated: Everything that local authorities should expect to provide to central departments in is on the list. Councils will not have to provide anything that is not on the list unless extra funding is provided. This provides a single, comprehensive list of the data that central government needs from local authorities. Consultation on the inclusion in the list of data requirements of Arm s Length Bodies (ALB) is scheduled to be completed late May At April 2011 there were 97 collections listed containing a total of 260 data topics that fall under the remit of county councils. Within the ALB consultation there are proposals for a further 23 collections including 100 data topics. Reporting data to central government departments certainly has not gone away. In response we must understand we have a duty to submit these data sets when they are due having ensured reasonable data quality standards have been applied. This will require named responsible officers to be identified to ensure accountability and for data quality risk assessments to be completed when the sets are first submitted. Details of definitions and guidance are provided through hyperlinks in the SDL spreadsheets. Internal audit provided by the Devon Audit Partnership will rank the data risks when completing their annual Audit Plan and take appropriate action regarding audit. Under government transparency and accountability policy it will be appropriate for the data sets to be made available for arm chair auditors so while it is not government intention to use these data sets for performance management there may be an unprecedented level of public scrutiny in future. 9

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