The use of performance measures in leading organizations, both public and private is hardly new. Organizations have been measuring costs, quality, quantity, cycle time, efficiency, productivity, etc. of products, services, and processes as long as ways to monitor these measures have existed. A key piece of this effort is having those who do the work play a greater role in determining some of what should be measured and directly relate the measures to their service area objectives and department and program goals.
Performance measures alone will not produce higher levels of effectiveness, efficiency, and quality but they will provide the necessary data to reallocate resources or realign strategic plans. Leading organizations decide on what measures they will use to measure progress towards meeting service area objectives and strategic goals, then collect and analysis data, and then use this data to direct continuous improvements in their organizations. This process in Nassau County is known as Performance Management.
The factors of planning, budgeting and performance measurement are strongly linked in the process of Performance Management. The process is also circular or ongoing, the last step continually feeds into the first steps focusing on results of programs and services and strategic planning. The emphasis is on better control, understanding, and continuous improvement of the services and programs provided by the employees of Nassau County.
The County is currently engaged in installing a software solution to enhance its Performance Management process and has joined the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Center for Performance Measurement (CPM) which helps local governments improve the effectiveness and efficiency of public service through the collection, analysis and application of performance information. A brief discussion of each of these activities is included below.
Performance Management Software Solution – pbviews
Performancesoft pbviews is a technology enabler that streamlines the reporting and presentation effort associated with Performance Management. The software provides visual and actionable information in a very user friendly interface.
Pbviews software will provide senior managers and analysts with improved visibility into the County’s performance results. Additionally, since the County houses its operational data in a variety of different database systems, pbviews will facilitate the retrieval of this data on an automated basis and greatly streamline the reporting process.
This software implementation will result in the following benefits:
Analyzing Versus collecting data
Pbviews will allow managers to focus on analyzing instead of worrying about how to collect and organize data. It enhances data retrieval and tracking leading to better accuracy and reliability.
The Data is in One Place
Pbviews will reduce the need to learn how to use and understand multiple systems. Everybody knows where to access key data and this system becomes the authoritative source or standard of important performance information.
Pbviews will provide the ability to view data quickly and provide an up-to-date view of the current situation, leading to more timely decision making.
Using a single system with a consistent format will eliminate the need for wasteful ad-hoc reporting, especially when there are large amounts of information.
Sharing of Performance Measurement information more easily will help avoid confrontational situations. The more visible the data the less chance of critical issues falling through the cracks.
Performance Measurement helps a manager make strategic decisions and maximize budget value. The Performancesoft pbviews solution will help Nassau County measure our performance and manage key areas of concern. This will lead to more effective decision making, more efficient management reporting and increased accountability.
International City/County Management Association Center for Performance Measurement
The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) mission is to create excellence in local government by developing and fostering professional local government worldwide. ICMA Center for Performance Measurement (CPM) helps local governments improve the effectiveness and efficiency of public service through the collection, analysis and application of performance information.
The CPM is dedicated to helping local governments measure, compare, and improve municipal service delivery. The program currently assists over 150 cities and counties in the United States and Canada with the collections, analysis, and application of performance information.
The Center administers the Comparative Performance Measurement Program which includes:
- Providing on-site training for new participants
- Coordinating meetings for both managers and departmental specialists
- Refining data collection templates based on suggestions from program participants
- Collecting and "cleaning" program data to ensure the validity of interagency comparisons
- Compiling information regarding best practices among program participants
- Publishing an annual program report, and
- Providing participants with raw data for customizing their own comparisons, graphs, and reports.
Nassau County became an active participant in this process at the end of 2003. By participating in this program the County is able to compare itself to the full sample or to use the online database to customize comparisons based on population, climate, urban density, method of service provision, community demographics, and other characteristics.
Nassau County service areas evaluated under the program include:
- Facilities Management
- Fire and EMS
- Fleet Management
- Highway and Road Maintenance
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Parks and Recreation
- Police Services
- Risk Management
- Youth Services