Examples of how UK Local Governments
engage their local communities in
Performance Management
Peter McHugh
CEO & Founder
Examples will be focused on 5 Topics …
1. Engage and account to their communities for the quality of
service they deliver
2. Use performance metrics to demonstrate trends and monitor
achievement of operational priorities and strategic objectives.
3. Use benchmarking to drive performance improvements
4. Engage with different public bodies in partnership to deliver
services jointly
5. Engage with their own staff to build buy-in to a performance
oriented culture
Accounting to local
communities for quality of
service delivery
Accountability in UK Local Government is onerous.
The average Local Government is required
to report 43,000 different pieces of
Some of that reporting requires the entry of
tens-of-thousands of individual facts
covering every pupil, householder receiving
benefits, or resident using a particular
service in a local area, taking the total
number of data entries per council to more
than 12 million…
… and there are 433 councils in the UK!
Performance Metrics are part of councils DNA.
Lots of plans, that have complex
linkages, to be monitored
Business Plan
Organizational Objectives
Actions & Strategies
Success Factors
Performance Metrics
Citizen Performance Reporting.
Internally, performance is reported up and across the chains of command.
However, it must also be reported to citizens and the wider community, which
can be challenging
Citizens are provided with performance
information and regularly involved in events e.g.
Focus groups,
Customer forums,
Scrutiny panels / Boards
Satisfaction surveys
Use of Covalent opens up the increasingly popular option of Web Publishing
performance information, and progress with strategy/business plans
Performance Reporting on council websites …
Tamworth publish a Priorities Scorecard on their website that is autopopulated by metrics from Covalent
West Lothian have a
section on their
website dedicated to
Management …
clicking brings the
citizen to Covalent
West Lothian publish a Corporate Performance Scorecard of Objectives, on
their website, auto-populated by metrics from Covalent
Dumfries have a
section on their
website dedicated to
Scottish Performance
Indictors … clicking
brings the citizen to
Covalent performance
Dumfries provide citizen-friendly commentary on their performance results
Using metrics to monitor
achievement of priorities
and objectives.
Sutton LBC align metrics to theme areas
Key Outcomes
By Tier
Sutton’s reporting aligns measures with goals
Key Outcomes
Hartlepool track PIs and Actions against objectives …
Theme &
Three level cascade ...
Monitored or
A comprehensive set of Corporate Performance reports …
Examining performance trends is fundamental to monitoring
E.g. Customers have previously expressed concerns about home repairs.
Providing relevant linked information provides a useful report commonly
known as … ‘You said – We did’
Using benchmarking to drive
performance improvements
Many customers are part of benchmarking sub-groups.
Covalent provides organisations
with the opportunity to
benchmark intelligently, and in
real-time during the year, rather
than just year end
All 8 LGs in Nottingham use Covalent for Benchmarking
Total Notts Project
Time taken to process Benefits Claims:
Benchmark Chart
Nottingham County
Ashfield DC
Bassetlaw DC
Broxtowe BC
Gedling BC
Mansfield DC
Newark and Sherwood DC
Rushcliffe BC
Using benchmarking to quickly improve performance.
In this example, Nottingham benchmarks its own monthly Average Employee
Sickness levels against two nearby areas of Broxtowe and Mansfield
Nottingham used this data to quickly explore contributing factors…
and influence change!
Benchmarking is delivering many benefits …
• Improved resourcing and cost savings through Shared Service working
• Effective and timely sharing of Best Practice and cross fertilization of initiatives
• Closer working for the overall improvement of services to customers … a marked
increase in citizen satisfaction levels
Another type of Benchmarking Chart …
Domestic Burglaries: Comparator Chart Vs All England Top/Bottom Quartile and Median
Engaging in partnerships to
jointly deliver services
A lot of partnership working in the UK
Social housing providers, charities, colleges, healthcare and emergency services partner
organisations all contribute to the collection and reporting of performance metrics.
Issues & Challenges
• Different levels of internal engagement within each organisation
• Consistent Information Management
• Reporting activity from individual organisations to Partnership Boards
• Communicating priorities around partners and agree ‘joint’ priorities
• Moving people from “silo working”
The UK’s largest Metropolitan Authority …
• Purchased Covalent as a
Partnership performance solution
• Partners … NHS Health, Housing,
Police, Fire, Children’s Services,
• Almost 2,000 registered users on
• 538 Active users per month;
council’s partners form a
significant portion of overall
Covalent usage
Doncaster generate a large number of reports for all levels of the Council and
Partnership Boards.
Getting staff buy-in,
creating a performance
oriented culture
800 users participate in “Covalent Week”
Series of events to engage staff, communicate important messages and showcase
benefits already achieved.
Supporting presentation from
Software familiarisations
Drop in and formal training
Input to Covalent’s future
Introduction to new Appraisal
process on Covalent
Successful System Admin Decentralisation
Ongoing administration of Covalent now minimal with 1 part-time member of staff;
admin for 400 users is distributed to many people across their organisation.
How did it start?
• Rolled out with traffic lights….
• A deadline for data and commentary in the system set by the CEO –
a ‘no excuses’ Policy
How it’s going?
67% of Staff logging regularly into Covalent as “just part of the day job”
“Performance Management has been transformed from a reactive
administration function chasing pieces of data into a department delivering a
high quality proactive service”
Kevin Douglas, Executive Director, Corporate Policy and Improvement
From “Weak” to “Excellent” with Covalent’s help
2004 – Rated as ‘Weak’ in their CPA by the Audit Commission
2005 – Purchased Covalent
2006 – Upgraded to Full Site Licence
2008 - Re-categorised as an ‘Excellent’ council, having made –in the words of the
Audit Commission – ‘exceptional progress’ since their previous inspection.
‘During our CPA inspection, we demonstrated our Covalent site to a
performance specialist from the CPA team. He was very impressed with
the software and how we had used it to meet our performance
management needs.
‘Covalent has become very much embedded in the council’s
performance management processes, to the point where departments are
now approaching me to say that they want to use Covalent to monitor a
particular aspect of performance and asking for advice on how to do so.
William Benson, CEO, Tunbridge Wells BC
Some of the practical buy-in activities TWBC did …
Training program by Covalent & by TW site admins.
Tailored training sessions for staff and board members - either on a one-toone basis or in groups – by TW site admins.
Regular workshops to update users with latest product enhancements.
Drop-in performance clinics where users can get hands-on help with
solutions they need.
Specific web page dedicated to
performance management
Provides links to the Covalent system,
online help and training lessons
Specialist guidance - Jargon Buster,
Data Quality Performance Checklist,
Methodology Statement
Wrap up
1. Lot of focus on performance reporting to the public
2. Nearly all customers report scorecards that align performance
measures with operational priorities and strategic objectives
3. Regular, in-year benchmarking is actively used to drive
performance improvements
4. Though complex to manage, partnership working is widespread
and can deliver better quality services
5. Those that make the most of Performance Management tend to
be most effective as getting staff buy-in.

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