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Agenda item

Performance Monitoring Presentation


The Executive Member Finance, Performance and Community Safety, Councillor Andy Hull, was present and accompanied by Roger Dunlop, Director of Strategy and Change, and a presentation was made to the Committee, copy interleaved


During discussion the following main points were made –


·         Background – up until 2010, Local Authorities were required to report data and monitor progress against Best Value Performance Indicators. There are no longer any duties or obligations on the Council to have in place corporate performance arrangements, other than the requirement to provide statutory returns on a list of measures

·         Islington’s performance framework is used to – monitor progress in delivering priorities and direction of travel towards achieving outcomes, measure the impact of activity to determine whether the money and effort put in is making a difference, to benchmark ourselves against other Local Authorities, and to drive continuous improvement an identify any issues at an early stage

·         Council’s Performance Framework – the Council has arrangements for monitoring delivery and performance against key priorities and services. Key elements of the framework are – a suite of corporate performance indicators reported monthly or quarterly, overseen by departmental management teams, CMB, and Scrutiny Committees. From the Autumn these will also be reported quarterly to Joint Board

·         There is also oversight of other key related data – monthly budget monitoring through services, Departmental Management Teams, CMB, Executive and scrutiny. There is also quarterly corporate and departmental risk monitoring, Annual Executive Member reports to scrutiny, setting out activity and achievements of those services that sit within the EM portfolio. In addition, a number of Partnership Boards are in place to oversee activity and performance on specific themes, including Community Safety, Safeguarding, Health and Wellbeing, and Children and Families

·         How to choose what to monitor – Indicators should relate to delivery of key services, or corporate priorities set out in the Corporate Plan, and measure outcomes, rather than outputs. The Council should be able to influence the outcome, either through in-house or commissioned services, or through partnership working. Data should be easily available and reported frequently to enable regular monitoring of progress. It should be possible to set a target, not just to monitor, and targets should be challenging, and the measure should be clear and unambiguous, and be easy to understand whether an indicator needs to go up and down

·         Corporate Health measures – in addition to the current KPI’s, a suite of corporate health measures has been developed to enable monitoring of core business requirements, and standards, that sits across all Directorates. The suite of measures relate to complaints, responses to requests for information, data security incidents, staff sickness levels, agency workers, apprenticeships, digital services. These will be routinely monitored through DMT’s and CMB

·         Process for setting targets – DMT’s lead the process for indicators that sit within their areas. They seek advice from relevant service leads and have regard to recent performance data and corporate priorities. Proposed targets are set for the year ahead, and are endorsed by CMB

·         The proposed targets are shared with the Executive Member Finance, Performance and Community Safety who has formal responsibility for approving the targets. The EM will discuss with the Chairs of Scrutiny Committees to provide the opportunity to input on relevant measures before the final decision is made. The refreshed suite of corporate PI’s and targets are presented to the scrutiny committees in the autumn of each year, alongside with the Quarter 1 report

·         Guidance on setting targets – Where possible, the aim should be for continuous improvement, unless there are good reasons why this is not realistic/possible – in this event an explanation should be provided

·         The following questions should be asked when target setting – are targets SMART, Continuous improvement – is the target better than the previous year’s performance. Benchmarking – how do we compare with other London/national/statistical neighbours. Aligning with national targets – are the measures part of a regional or national performance framework. If so can the same target be agreed for consistency. Budget constraints – are budget issues likely to impact on the target or delivery. Service changes –are there any recent or future changes to services that could negatively impact upon performance, or changes which are expected to improve performance. Population changes – has any modelling/forecasting been carried out which indicates a change in population needs which will impact on performance. Policy changes – will recent or pending policy/legislative changes impact on performance

·         What gets measured gets managed – PI’s are only part of the bigger picture in terms of understanding and improving performance. The Audit Commission stated that indicators needed to be interpreted carefully, and on their own are rarely sufficient to make definitive judgements. Some important aspects of services cannot be easily measured through performance indicators, so other sorts of information, such as detailed feedback from service users and reviews by external inspectorates, are needed to provide a complete picture

·         Triangulating information needs to be carried out between KPI, Customer Satisfaction and Activity Data

·         Beware of performance frameworks that drives perverse incentives – Introduced in 2003, Payment by Results is the national funding system by which primary care trusts, which are allocated about 80% of the NHS budget, pay hospitals to deliver services, including the provision of medicines, to their patients. Under payment by results, hospitals receive money from PCT’s for each episode of care, from admission to discharge), they undertake, rather than receiving a set of amount of money under the block contracts that were previously in place. The idea of payment by results is to reward hospitals for efficiency, and to facilitate the introduction of patient choice by allowing money to follow the patient. Block contracts were thought to rely too heavily on previous budgets, and the skills of local negotiations

·         Holding Members/officers to account – why is it not on target – understanding what has happened that is stopping the target being met – what action are you taking to get it back on track, what action is being taken and will these actually address the issue, and when is it expected to get back on track and when should scrutiny ask for an update

·         In response to a question it was stated that the area of triangulation of services need to be improved

·         A Member referred to the performance indicators considered by Children’s Services Committee, and that whilst appreciating that a number of these were statutory there is a need to identify areas that are important to the Committee, and to follow through on these

·         A Member referred to the fact that the way that the P.I.’s are presented did not allow Members to challenge targets effectively, as they could not see how the targets had changed/been achieved over a number of years, and that was an area that needed to be improved. Councillor Hull stated that targets did change over time, however he did challenge targets where he did not feel that they were stretching enough

·         In response to a question it was stated that a top priority for the incoming new Chief Executive is to address cultural change

·         Councillor Hull stated that he would welcome any feedback from Members for consideration when targets are set for next years’ P.I.s



That the report be noted and a further presentation be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee, including the different models in other Local Authorities that are used to decide and analyse targets when determining P.I’s


The Chair thanked Councillor Hull and Roger Dunlop for attending