Performance Management does not have to be
complicated. In essence it is:
"What we do to monitor, improve and maintain
Source : Making Performance Management Work,
A Performance Management Framework is a
framework of strategies, plans, policies and indicators, both
national and local, that enables the performance of the Council to
be effectively and efficiently monitored in an open and transparent
manner. It also incorporates monitoring of actions arising from our
review process and from the national inspection regime.
In addition to the statutory strategies and
policies operated by Bedford, the Performance Management Framework
centres specifically on the Sustainable Community Strategy,
Corporate Plan and annual Performance Plan. In these documents, the
Council explains to its community what it intends to do in terms of
developing and improving services and how this is to be
There are two main elements of Performance
Systems – the
framework that supports performance management on a regular,
on-going basis, including elements such as plans, strategies,
policies and objectives.
Culture – people
continually wanting to improve, using the systems not being led by
Effective performance management happens when
the necessary management systems are complemented by an
environment, or organisational culture, that focuses on community
aspirations and encourages and nurtures performance improvement
The Borough Council has a strong record of
managing our performance and continuous improvement. Our last
assessment by the Audit Commission stated:
“Performance management is consistent,
rigorous and open, and actively supports the delivery and
improvement of services. Comprehensive, timely and encouraging
corrective action is taken to address any weaker performing
(Audit Commission, Corporate Assessment
It is our aim to ensure that this culture
continues in the unitary council across all service areas.
Our framework involves a golden thread running
through our high level plans such as our Sustainable Community
Strategy [our Community Plan], Corporate Plan, Service Plans and
individual staff appraisals.
How is performance measured?
The measurement of performance is achieved by
the use of Performance Indicators. These indicators are a mixture
of those that are nationally prescribed as National Indicators and
those that have been developed locally.
The government has set out 188 indicators to
support councils and other public bodies in managing their
performance, either as individual bodies or working in
This National Indicator set (NIS) covers all
of the services the Borough Council provides directly including
schools, housing provision, adult social care and recycling. The
NIS also measures the levels of ‘civic involvement’ e.g. how many
people regularly take part in volunteering or act as school
In addition the Borough Council also monitors
its performance through local indicators such as how much council
tax we collect and how quickly we process invoices.
All of the performance indicators reproduced
and shown in the Annual Performance Plan are 'cascaded' down and
are shared and owned by the Service Plans. That is to say, every
performance indicator that the Council reports upon to its
community is owned by an individual service.
Why measure performance?
Performance measurement is the essential
foundation on which performance management is built. But, although
performance indicators are important, they are not the only way of
assessing performance. They are a tool to evaluate and assess
performance and should be used in conjunction with communication
with staff, consultation, focus groups etc.
Performance measurement can help organisations
improve performance by identifying good practice and opportunities
to learn from others. It can also ensure that the organisation is
focused on its key priorities, and that areas of poor performance
Bedford’s Performance Management Framework is
monitored by its elected Members (specifically Portfolio Holders),
the Corporate Operational Management (COM) Group, and Service
How is the performance information collected?
The Council's Policy & Performance Unit
act as the focal point for collating performance information and
for producing the various reports that are required for the
monitoring processes. The Unit acts as co-ordinator for the
collection of data for the performance indicators.
Two key parts of our Performance Management
Framework are our Sustainable Community Strategy and Local Area
Agreement. These set our, our partners and our community’s vision
for Bedford Borough and how we are going to deliver this. The
Bedford Borough Partnership (Bedford’s local strategic partnership)
is charged with ensuring delivery against these documents.
Effective performance monitoring will be key
to measuring whether we are delivering against these