A Performance Management System for the Public Sector

(and how to build one)

Performance management is the activity of evaluating organizational results against planned performance, identifying opportunities for improvement, and taking action to fix problems or enhance successes. In the public sector this is often identified as managing for results.

An effective Performance Management System will allow public sector organizations to demonstrate that:

  • Our work is planned with consideration for objectives, activities, outputs, outcomes and measures that will demonstrate results;

  • We are managing for results, with a clear understanding of why we exist,  what we want to achieve, and how we will achieve it;

  • We make decisions based on results, and adjust plans and tactics as required based on what we have learned;

  • We are accountable for results, and report reliably on our performance, supporting effective evaluation and the need to be accountable to Parliament and Canadians;

Components of a Performance Management System

An effective system for managing performance has three components:

  1. A Performance Measurement Framework

  2. A Governance Structure, and

  3. A Communication Strategy

The Performance Measurement Framework consists of a Logic Model depicting key organizational outputs, outcomes and linkages, a Data Collection Strategy identifying data types and sources, and responsibilities for collection and reporting, and a Performance Report that organizes and presents performance information to tell a compelling story of your organization's achievements.

The Governance Structure identifies to whom the data will be reported, how will it be used to make decisions, and who is responsible to act on the findings to improve the organization.

The Communication Strategy identifies the messages and the audiences for performance information, and the venue for communicating and acting on performance results.

Getting Started . . .

Building a performance management system usually starts with a Performance Measurement Assessment that looks at identifying key management information and reporting requirements that are to be the focus of the measurement regime. The assessment will help to identify your organisation's maturity with respect to measuring performance and the strengths and weaknesses in your current reporting. This gives focus to your subsequent system development.

For further reading . . .


How well is your existing Performance Measurement Framework serving you? Are you as the manager getting the critical information you need to make decisions, allocate resources, and make improvements to your organization? Are you meeting the requirements of higher-level reporting? Find out by conducting a Performance Measurment Evaluation

A successful Performance Measurement Framework depends on a practical, structured approach. Here's how we design and implement performance measurement in the public sector


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