Our Approach to Corporate Planning and Performance Management
When planning for the future it's important that we ensure the efforts and resources of the Council are focused on achieving the Council's stated aims. We do this through the Strategic Planning Framework which aligns the Council's performance frameworks and helps us to understand:
To deliver real service improvement we need to have clarity of purpose, to know how well we are performing and to know our strengths and weaknesses. For staff performance management means “The way in which the actions and targets we set ourselves to improve our services are monitored and progressed” If you are a citizen of Northumberland, our performance management arrangements enable you to find out what we are doing to improve the services we provide.
PERFORMANCEPLUS - OUR CHOSEN PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
To improve the way we manage the Council’s performance we have invested in a single unifying performance management system called PerformancePlus Local Authority. This application allows us to measure and improve performance across the whole authority. It helps us to:
The Corporate Performance Team manages this application centrally within the Chief Executive’s Directorate, we have prepared a list of questions below that will help to guide you to the correct information on our site:
WHAT IS PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT ?
Good performance management is about breaking the cycle where everybody carries on doing the same things - it means continuously striving to improve what we do as part of our daily working lives.
The County Council's performance management system is defined as “The way in which the actions and targets we set ourselves to improve our services are monitored and progressed” It means the most appropriate person takes direct responsibility for carrying out actions and achieving targets and then regularly reporting back on progress. This enables service improvements to be recognised and action taken to address underachievement.
WHY DO WE NEED PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT?
We need performance management because we all need to have a clear understanding of where we are going. Good performance management can help the County Council deliver better services:
WHAT DOES PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT MEAN FOR ME?
If you are a citizen of Northumberland, our performance management arrangements enable you to find out what we are doing to improve the services we provide.
If you are a member of staff, then you should be absolutely clear about what your role is and what you can reasonably be expected to achieve each year.
HOW CAN WE TELL IF OUR PERFORMANCE HAS IMPROVED?
Normally performance can be said to be improving if the quality of a service gets better while the cost stays the same, or if we maintain the same quality, while reducing the cost. Monitoring, assessment and measurement of our performance against our objectives and priorities allows us to manange how we are performing and improving. This information helps us to allocate resources to the most appropriate areas. It also helps ensure:
In other words, if we manage our performance well, we can all be confident that we are providing the right services, for the right people, in the right way.
WHAT IS THE STRATEGIC PLANNING FRAMEWORK?
The County Council needs to continue its drive towards improved performance and the provision of better quality services to the people of Northumberland. To do this we have a clear framework that helps all staff deliver real and positive change. Being clear about where the County Council is going and what individuals, teams, directorates and Members have to do to achieve these objectives is essential.
The Strategic Planning Framework brings together all of the County Council's plans, from personal development plans right through to the Community Strategy. This enables the County Council to focus its resources on achieving its goals through a shared vision and set of priorities focused on service delivery.
HOW THE FRAMEWORK AFFECTS STAFF
The Strategic Planning Framework helps define the relationship and communication channels between managers and staff, for example it provides a framework that ensures what management does is consistent with what it says. This same framework helps individuals understand their role in the delivery of the County Council's priorities. Further staff benefits include
WHAT ARE TARGETS?
By targets we mean the promises made to service users about the level and quality of service they can expect, they can be set locally by the County Council, or they may be set centrally. Targets are precise, quantified statements of what the County Council wants to achieve in a specified time frame. A good target should:
WHAT ARE PERFORMANCE INDICATORS?
Performance indicators are a measure of how well a target is being achieved, or whether a target is being met. Increasingly, we are using performance indicators to measure progress.
Performance indicators are collected throughout the County Council. These indicators fall into two categories, national and local. National performance indicators, such as Best Value Performance Indicators (BVPI) and Social Services Performance Assessment Framework (PAF), are set by the Government to ensure high level priorities are being delivered and standards are being met across the full range of our services.
The Audit Commission analyses all BVPI data and produces a summary that enables people to compare the performance of their council with other councils. Their analysis provides a relative quartile position for each council e.g. top 25% of councils, as well as average performance, this allows people to gain a picture of how effective their council is. You can access specific performance data produced by the County Council or alternatively you can access national performance data at:
We also measure local indicators. These are an important measure of local performance - they tell us how well we are meeting local need. They allow us to reflect local priorities and tailor services to suit local circumstances. These indicators are set by individual directorates within the Council and are published in Directorate Service Plans and Directorate Scorecards so employees are aware of the targets that they have to achieve.
Developing Local Indicators
The Audit Commission with the Improvement and Development Agency (I&DeA) have developed with local authorities a comprehensive Library of Local Performance Indicators which also contains some useful background on the development and use of performance indicators; in short a good performance indicator should:
We would welcome any ideas you have on new performance indicators, please send suggestions to:
WHO CHECKS WHAT WE DO?
Our performance is subject to checks from outside bodies. Government inspectors and auditors such as
all pay close attention to our performance and performance management. This means it is essential that all Members and staff of the authority are fully aware of the performance management approach adopted and of their role in it. This will provide government inspectors with assurance that performance management is part of the way we work.
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© 2005 Northumberland County Council • County Hall • Morpeth • NE61 2EF
Tel: 01670 533000 • Fax: 01670 534117