Named a finalist in the government, corporate or philanthropic organization category of the Impact Measurement Awards, Penrith City Council has developed clear, meaningful Outcome Based Performance Measures for each of its services, using the Results Based Accountability (RBA) framework. They address quality (timeliness, cost-effectiveness, accessibility), quantity (number of customers served) and the outcome (if anyone is better off).
Beginning in November 2009, Penrith City Council held workshops across all services to engage staff in identifying areas of improvement in terms of the Council’s corporate documents, performance measures/KPIs and reporting.
Feedback from staff relating to performance measures was that there were too many measures, it was unclear at what level they were reported and they were often not meaningful (quantity vs quality). It was recommended to pilot the Results Based Accountability (RBA) framework for the development of performance measures across all services.
After broad analysis of 26 frameworks and a more detailed analysis of six, the project resulted in 56 possible indicators. Key issues covered by most frameworks included climate change, waste and recycling, health, satisfaction and belonging, education, services and facilities, safety, mobility, affordability and employment. The Council then used these and refined them to fit with the 7 outcomes in their Community Plan.
Penrith City Council also worked with the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government on a project to improve “quality of life” indicators for local government. The project attempted to determine what issues and statistics can serve as appropriate benchmarks for Council activities aimed at improving quality of life.
This is the first time that the Council has used a consistent framework across all services to develop performance measures. They recognize a good framework needs an underpinning set of principles, aligned with strategic goals and reporting requirements, and reliable, appropriate data sources. These measures, developed in consultation with staff, are now the framework for the Council’s corporate documents and reporting.
RBA training to Penrith City Council was provided by Clear Impact AU.