Report of the Assistant Director Strategy & Performance to the meeting of Corporate Governance & Audit Committee to be held on 20 March 2009.

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1 Report to the Corporate Governance & Audit Committee. Report of the Assistant Director Strategy & Performance to the meeting of Corporate Governance & Audit Committee to be held on 20 March Subject: Data Quality AE Summary statement: This report details the actions that CMT have agreed to address the findings of the Audit Commissions Annual Data Quality Audit 2008 and introduces the council s Data Quality Strategy and Data Quality Standards. John Ghader Assistant Director Strategy & Performance. Portfolio: Corporate. Report Contact: David Greenwood Phone: (01274)

2 Report to the Corporate Governance & Audit Committee. 1. Summary 1.1 This report details the actions that CMT have agreed, to address the findings of the Audit Commissions Annual Data Quality Audit 2008/ It also introduces the Data Quality Strategy and Data Quality Standards. These are designed to ensure that Bradford Council has high quality performance information to manage, plan activities, demonstrate the extent it has achieved its priorities and show that individual services are effective in meeting the needs of local residents. 2. Background 2.1 During the last 3 years the council s data quality arrangements has been judged as achieving a score of 2: meeting minimum requirements adequate performance. The quality of the data and information we use is important to understanding and achieving our outcomes. The Audit Commission have clearly stated that data quality is high on their agenda and this is reflected in the revised Use of Resources 2009 assessment that asks if a council: produces relevant and reliable data and works with partners to ensure the quality of partnership data; understands the needs of its decision makers and provides them with information that is fit-for-purpose and is used to support decision making; ensures data security and compliance with relevant statutory requirements; and monitors performance against its priorities and targets, and addresses underperformance. The council needs to satisfy its own data quality requirements whilst giving attention to the recommendations in the Audit Commission s 2008/09 annual data quality audit report. Work continues to be undertaken to address the 2008/09 audit recommendations and to implement the Data Quality Strategy and Standards and to further embed performance management. 3. Other considerations 3.1 Failure to assure data quality will: 4. Options Impact on the Council s ability to manage performance and to make robust decisions; Adversely affect our CAA assessment including UoR KLOE 2.2 judgement. In striving to become an excellent council it is imperative that our approach to data quality is robust and forms an integral part of embedding performance management across the organisation and in the partnership arena. 5. Financial and resource appraisal 3

3 Report to the Corporate Governance & Audit Committee. 5.1 There are no direct financial implications related to the recommendation of the report. 6. Legal appraisal 6.1 None required. 7.0 Other implications 7.1 Equal Rights There are no direct implications from this report in relation to the Equal Rights. 7.2 Sustainability implications There are no direct implications from this report in relation to Sustainability. 7.3 Community safety implications Not applicable. 7.4 Human Rights Act There are no direct implications from this report in relation to the Human Rights Act. 7.5 Trade Union There are no direct Trade Union implications from this report at this present time. 8. Not for publication documents 8.1 Not applicable. 9. Recommendations (1) That the Assistant Director, Strategy and Performance be requested to ensure that considerations in respect of data quality are included in reports presented to this Committee in order to support its decision making process. (2) That the Assistant Director, Strategy and Performance be requested to ensure that considerations in respect of data quality form an integral part of performance management relating to this Committee s remit. 10. Appendices 10.1 Data Quality Strategy and Standards. 11. Background documents 4

4 Report to the Corporate Governance & Audit Committee Audit Commission s 2009 Annual Data Quality Report. 5

5 BRADFORD METROPOLITAN DISTRICT COUNCIL DATA QUALITY STRATEGY 1

6 Contents Page no. Introduction 3 Why is data quality so important? 3 National context 4 Local context 5 The Six Principles of Data Quality 5 What needs to be in place 6 The Council s commitment 6 The Data Quality Standard Appendix 1 Audit Commission paper, Improving information to support decision making: standards for better quality data Appendix 2 2

7 Introduction The ability to measure performance is a vital element in effective management of an organisation and in the drive to improve services and outcomes. Effective management of performance relies on the ready availability of relevant and accurate information which is regularly monitored so that timely action can be taken to counter any changes in performance. In recent years government has placed increasing emphasis on the use of published performance indicators as the primary means through which public bodies account for their performance to central government, service users and other stakeholders. Performance information is also used internally to monitor and manage performance, set targets, allocate resources, make decisions and to inform benchmarking/comparisons. Why is data quality so important? There are a number of reasons why data quality is important: All public bodies are accountable for the public money they spend. Local authorities therefore have a duty to publish performance information to government, local residents and other stakeholders, and to provide assurance that data are accurate; High quality performance information is needed to inform, manage and plan activities and to support sound decision-making by managers at every level within the Council, including in respect of services delivered in partnership with others; The Local Area Agreement (LAA) encapsulates key performance targets for the Council and its partners. As the Accountable Body for Bradford s LAA, the Council works closely with the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) in managing performance against these targets, and is responsible for assuring the quality of the data; To maintain strong corporate governance, Bradford Council also needs robust data to demonstrate the extent to which it has achieved the right balance of priorities and has delivered against them, and that individual services are not only effective but sufficiently joined up to meet the needs of local residents. It also needs robust data on whether it is delivering good Value for Money (VFM). The existence of inaccurate or unreliable data threatens the Council s ability to do all of this, risking: the qualification of indicators during the annual check by the Council s external auditors; undermining confidence in other Council performance and other data and its data quality arrangements; negative impact on Audit Commission assessments of the Council s capacity; compromised comparative or benchmarking data; misleading performance information resulting in: 3

8 o failure to identify problem areas o flawed decision-making o failure to take necessary preventative action at the appropriate time o failure to improve services o wastage of resources. National context The Audit Commission Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) framework, is one of the main mechanisms used to assess local authorities and their partners performance. The Commission and other external inspection bodies continue to place greater emphasis on data quality in assessing our performance, especially in regard to the new CAA regime commencing in The Council therefore needs to have systems in place to ensure the data being used are accurate and reliable and able to withstand close scrutiny. The Audit Commission auditors use Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs) to assess organisations. KLOE 2.2 specifically asks whether the organisation produces relevant and reliable data and information to support decision-making and manage performance and focuses predominately on arrangements for securing data quality and use of fit-for-purpose information. KLOE 2.2 focuses on producing relevant and reliable data and working with partners to ensure the quality of partnership data; understanding the needs of its decision makers and providing them with information that is fit-for-purpose and using it to support decision making; ensuring data security and compliance with relevant statutory requirements; and monitoring performance against its priorities and targets, and addressing underperformance. The Council therefore needs to be able to satisfy the Audit Commission that its processes and practices meet their data quality requirements, as outlined in their paper, 'Improving information to support decision making: standards for better quality data, and that they are embedded throughout all the tiers of the council. Furthermore the assessment for use of resources for the CAA is broader than previously under Comprehensive Performance Assessment and now embraces the use of natural, physical and human resources. It also places new emphasis on commissioning services for local people and achieving value for money. Auditors will produce an annual judgement for each of the following three themes: managing finances - focusing on sound and strategic financial management; governing the business - focusing on strategic commissioning and good governance; and managing resources - focusing on the effective management of natural resources, assets and people. The Council needs to improve the way it produces and uses data to achieve a higher score than its previous score of 2: at only minimum requirements adequate performance on the Audit Commission judgement scale. 4

9 Local context The importance of Data Quality within the Council The Council is responsible for the public money it spends; it must manage competing demands on resources to meet the needs of the community, and plan for the future. This requires it to ensure that the performance information that it uses is of the highest quality. Performance information can be used to: Decide how services need to be changed, refocused and improved; Reallocate resources to where they will provide the greatest benefit; Reformulate strategies and policies to improve service delivery; Give citizens the confidence that we are providing value for money; and Demonstrate excellent performance to government inspectorates and reap the rewards of freedoms and flexibilities and reduced inspection and regulation. Data Quality is everyone s responsibility Every person working for BMDC has a duty to support good quality data in the following ways: To record information as they receive it; To check that it is fully recorded accurately and in the correct format; and To ensure they are aware of all data procedures and standards relevant to their work; Managers must ensure that all staff have clear service-specific procedures and guidelines; And just as important that staff inform management of any data irregularities, so that preventative action can be taken. The Six Principles of Data Quality We are committed to six basic elements within this Strategy to ensure that the data that we produce meet the Quality criteria. These are as follows: COMPLETE Data give you the whole picture. Incomplete data may be acceptable if you have a truly representative sample ACCURATE Data are error-free to present an honest reflection of performance and enable informed decision-making at all levels. VALID Data conform to a clear and unambiguous definition. RELIABLE Data have trusted sources and consistent collection methods. Managers and stakeholders alike should be confident that changes in data reflect real changes in what is being measured not random fluctuation or variations in data collection methods. TIMELY Data must be available for intended use when needed, soon after collection. RELEVANT Data apply to the context in which they will be used. 5

10 What needs to be in place? In order for these six principles of Data Quality to be met, a number of key elements must be in place across the authority: Effective systems, policies and procedures to ensure the highest possible data quality; The right people with the right skills to ensure timely and accurate performance information; Arrangements are made at senior level to secure the quality of data, for example, a Member and/or Senior Director responsible for Data Quality; Staff and Members are clear as to their responsibilities towards data collection, distribution and quality; Controls are in place to ensure that we meet what is expected of us; Data are stored, used and shared in accordance with all relevant laws, including the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act; Internal quality assurance programme to monitor compliance with the data quality strategy and standard, prioritised according to importance and risk, to provide assurance that there is a consistent approach to data quality across the authority. Undertaken by both Internal Audit and Service Improvement; The required data quality standards incorporated into new Covalent system, with identified performance indicator responsible officer carrying out a yearly self-assessment. This will be outlined in detail in the Quality Standards A system for identifying, high risk, inaccurate data so that decisions makers are aware of them; That any data sharing protocols adopt the principles of this Data Quality Strategy and Standard in there formulation e.g. Partners & Observatory Data Quality Protocols. The Council s commitment The Council recognises the importance of accurate and reliable information in the delivery of excellent services to its customers and in supporting customer care, corporate governance, management, service planning, training, accountability and adherence to audit and inspection processes. This strategy formally sets out the council s approach to ensuring that high standards of data quality are clearly set, achieved and maintained, alongside the Council s data quality action plan and associated operational procedures/guidance. It further supports the vision and priorities of the Council by ensuring that accurate and trustworthy data are used in planning and decision-making processes. 6

11 Data Quality Standards Introduction To ensure the principles of data quality, as outlined in the Data Quality Strategy, are adopted, the following needs to be in place across the council for all key performance indicators. A key performance indicator is defined as one which is in any plan of the authority: all departmental, service plans, corporate plans and partnership plans. All other performance indicators are management information and although not monitored as robustly, Responsible and Collection Officers must ensure that the same principles of data quality are in place. The Covalent system will accommodate the principles of data quality, drawing on both the Data Quality Strategy and Audit Commission paper, Improving information to support decision making: standards for better quality data. Although initially there will be a requirement for data to be uploaded into the system this has been kept to a minimum. Increased responsibility for the data is an inherent characteristic of Covalent and listed below are some of the key roles of the individual officers. The list is not exhaustive and will be reviewed during implementation of Covalent or following any audit that identifies a system concern. Managed by (Responsible officer): responsible for performance and is usually the officer in the best position to influence it; completion of the Performance Indicator Specification; setting achievable but challenging targets aligned to actions that will achieve targets in accordance with the Target Setting Protocol ; ensuring that any alterations they make to data/documentation are entered into the Covalent system, along with reason(s); reporting any irregularity/risk in data quality to Service Improvement and updating the PI risk in Covalent; ensuring that data quality and target setting self-assessments are completed within the specified timeframes; overall responsibility for data quality within their service. Assigned to (Collection officer): responsible for accuracy of data and reporting any irregularities in data quality to the responsible manager; responsible for collection, verification and inputting of data and any associated documentation into Covalent; responsible for ensuring that any alterations they make to data/documentation are entered into the Covalent system, along with the reason(s); ensuring that data is entered into Covalent within the agreed timeframes. Performance Champions: have a key role in supporting Strategic Directors and other senior managers within their department in all aspects of performance management. They, along with the Service Improvement Team, are responsible for training, developing and improving performance management throughout the council. Service Improvement: implementing the Covalent system throughout the authority in accordance with the project board recommendations; ensuring that data quality is an integral part of the Covalent training to both collection and responsible officers;

12 assisting responsible officer and the performance champions as necessary in the collation of the documentation required for data quality e.g. Flow charts, Performance indicator specification, identification of key controls etc; developing and implementing a data quality audit programme, to ensure a consistent approach to data quality across the authority. These audits along with others will be undertaken by either Internal Audit or Service Improvement; managing the delivery of the annual data quality audit and action plan. Implementation of Data Quality & Covalent During the phased implementation service improvement will be operating two systems, CPID and Covalent. To ensure data quality across all key indicators and both systems, the responsible officer still using CPID must forward an electronic copy of the data quality documentation listed below to CPID administration. Service Improvement will then be responsible for ensuring that the documentation is entered into Covalent. Phase one (initial requirements) a procedure or flowchart which outlines the method and key controls used to produce the data. completion of the Performance Indicator Specification form. identification of any risk assessment associated with the viability of data being collected for a performance indicator Those who are using Covalent will be able to upload the above documents into the system. Amendments will only be needed when the method of collection or one of the listed controls in the Performance Indicator Specification changes. It is imperative that these are kept updated, as they will be used during the internal quality audits and by the Audit Commission. Phase two (Yearly) Data Quality Self Assessment Description Completed Due Weight Note Date Is the performance indicator specification up to date 1 Upload into system if amended Is the procedure/flowchart up to date 1 Upload into system if amended Have you adequate trained staff and resources I to ensure continuity in the collection, verification, calculation and inputting of data into Covalent Have they been calculated in accordance with 1 statutory guidance or performance indicator specification for local PIs A copy of any background papers, including 1 Upload into system calculations and working papers Have you verified the outturn, 1 Detailed performance summary 1 Upload into system Once all the indicator data and supporting evidence have been uploaded to Covalent, the responsible officer will have to verify the data and complete the self-assessment milestones, example above, to indicate that the data and supporting documentation are correct. Target Setting Self Assessment

13 Description Completed Due Weight Note Date Have the targets for the next 3 years, profile 1 and red variance for the current year been entered into the system. Give a detailed explanation on why you have 1 Upload into system either reduced, maintained or are increasing the target/outturn, along with the target rationale Has the target been agreed, in accordance with the Target Setting Protocol? Assistant Director all key service Indicators Strategic Director key departmental & corporate plan indicators. Portfolio Holder Corporate Plan Indicators 2 The responsible officer is required to verify the target data on the system, upload a detailed explanation on the yearly outturn and the future direction of the performance indicator along with any related actions and target rationale. Performance and Data Quality Timeline Data Input * April May Qty 1 June July August Qty 2 September Data Quality Self-Assessment Self assessment and associated outturn and documentation need to completed by May Target setting & Self-Assessment Targets to be finalised following outturns. Self-assessment to be completed by July Performance Clinic 4 th Quarter May 1 st Quarter August Audit Programme Internal audits will be carried out during the year External audits July to October. October November December Qty 3 Projected year end estimate by Oct 2 nd Quarter Nov January February March Qty 4 Provisional targets for key indicators Jan 3 rd Quarter Feb * Note; Data needs to be entered into either CPID or Covalent, as appropriate, no later than 21 days after the month/period end. Specific dates, for each of the activities, will be communicated by Service Improvement to all concerned. Documentation

14 Performance Indicator Specification PI Code: Title Why do you require this PI, what is it intended to demonstrate? PI full definition (other than NI national indicators): How is the PI calculated? How is the PI collected? Tick as appropriate Is the PI included in the Service Plan Strategic Plan Corporate plan Big Plan LAA Partnership Plan please state.. Any other. Responsible Officer: Deputy (name and role): Collection Officer (name) (signed) Note: Minimum of two trained collections officers available. Performance Indicator Risk Assessment

15 Is this information generated or collected by anyone other than the nominated collection officer? Yes/No If so who? Are any other organisations involved in the collection and / or reporting of this indicator? Yes/No If so, is there a written protocol in place to ensure a shared understanding of requirements (please attach a copy)? Where is the source data for this PI kept? Are any intermediate records / calculations kept, and if so where? Does the data need to be externally verified prior to formal reporting? If so, by whom, and how long does this process take? Are there any planned improvements to the collection and reporting of this PI please give details and timescales? Date last updated: Date for next review: Updated by: (Responsible Officer) Note Ensure that all supporting data is kept for a minimum of three years

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