Public Sector Performance Measurement from the Manager's Perspective

What is Public Sector Performance Measurement? In reality, all any performance measurement system seeks to do is answer the question “How are we doing”? In other words, are we doing the things we said we would do (e.g. in our Business Plan), are we doing them well (efficiency) and are they having the impact, benefit or consequences we expected (effectiveness).

A practical and effective Public Sector Performance Measurement and reporting system will provide information to support business planning, allocation of resources, continuous improvement, and ultimately customer satisfaction. From the manager’s perspective, those are the real benefits to be obtained from developing a robust performance measurement system.

Real Public Sector Performance Measurement requires the on-going monitoring and analysis of organizational tasks, outputs and outcomes. However, it's important to understand that Performance Measurement is just a means to an end; the real goal is to find ways to improve organizational performance.

At some point YOU the manager in the Public Sector will be be tasked with reporting obligations. Reporting may be a requirement of a particular program or project you are responsible for. Or it may be that your performance report will be ‘rolled up’ as part of a larger reporting framework, like a Departmental Performance Report or the PAA.

When done correctly, Performance Measurement is a valuable management tool. But many managers struggle with creating and implementing a robust reporting regime. The reality is that an effective performance measurement system takes time to evolve; usually several reporting cycles.

This does not mean that useful data cannot be collected and used fairly quickly. Rather, it demonstrates the need to start as soon possible, have tolerance for the necessary learning curve, and take steps to ensure everyone is on board for the journey. Even if you could build the ‘perfect system’ on the first try, changes in your program, your environment, departmental goals, or technology would necessitate revision.

One of the keys to success when creating your Performance Measurement Framework is to get to the point of data collection as quickly as possible, with a relatively small handful of key performance measures. Then let the data ‘talk’; if the measures are valid - i.e. they provide useful information about the work unit - people will want to see more. They will work to expand and improve the system, because they have a vested interest. That is the basis for continuous improvement, and the ‘learning organization’.

See Also:

Best Practices in Performance Measurement

Performance Measurement Implentation

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