Making sure we’re doing the right things… or managing performance

 

This month marked the start of scrutiny getting officially and publically involved with the new performance management approach. The Place Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday (4 September) was the first to examine how we will handle performance management information in the future. You can watch the webcast online; it’s the first item on the agenda.

 

Managing performance in local government has changed dramatically over the last couple of years. Severe budget reductions and the national drive to help people to help themselves, combined with a fundamental internal re-structure has meant that the County Council had to re-think how it measures how well it is doing and how it manages its risks.

 

Performance information seems dry and theoretical to many people. But behind generic buzz-words like “protecting and supporting the most vulnerable” you’ll find that everyday occurrences are recorded and their success measured. It’s about making sure a neglected child is looked after properly and that he elderly couple in a remote village can get transport so they can go and see their GP.

 

Naturally, we’re doing better in some areas than others and performance information equips us with the knowledge to decide which areas we need to focus on, at first glance. So it’s a really helpful and vital tool to make informed decisions about how we should direct our resources. Elected councillors should use the information to structure their own work, be in the areas they represent by finding out what challenges people face and how they can help them, or by informing their collective work. For example, the Place Scrutiny Committee will take a closer look at why raising activity levels is currently well below target at their January meeting and hopefully come up with some suggestions of how this can be improved.

 

Please do get involved if you experience a problem where you live or work or if you want to share a success story – just give Camilla, Dan or Janine a call on 01392 384383, or email us at scrutiny@devon.gov.uk. We’d love to hear from you!

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