5 key focus areas to build an effective Performance Management Framework
THE GROSVENOR DIFFERENCE
This project was another example of Grosvenor challenging the status quo in order to achieve better, more targeted and nuanced results, says Evie. ‘When you’re challenging the norm in this way, people need to believe it’s worthwhile in order to really embrace that challenge. But, because we had already identified the outcomes we were seeking, it was easier to see why it was worth it.’
There was plenty of data available that could have informed a framework, but that data wasn’t fit for purpose. It didn’t allow for a framework that painted a full, balanced and comprehensive picture of what was happening.
For the Grosvenor team, a half-finished picture is not a picture worth looking at. So, rather than working with the limitations of the existing data and deriving outcomes from that information, the Grosvenor team worked out how to generate new, more valuable data to service the outcomes that were most desirable.
When Grosvenor was asked to devise a Performance Measurement Framework for the Corporate Plan for a Commonwealth Department (CD), it was a challenge the Grosvenor team welcomed, says Evie Cuthbertson, Grosvenor Public Service Advisory Senior Manager and Project lead.
‘The Corporate Plan is the department-level strategy for how they will conduct their activities and comply with the legislation. It’s an important undertaking as budgeting in Government is increasingly tied to data about outcomes and outputs, so these need to be measured effectively.’
The Performance Management Framework that Grosvenor developed, was designed to measure the performance of the Corporate Plan itself. ‘Essentially, the Corporate Plan is the documentation of the goals of the CD team,’ Evie explains.
One of the main challenges of this project was the scale of the change that was required, Evie says. ‘With over 100 performance measures and associated targets in the existing framework, it was an unwieldy beast that needed an extensive collaborative effort to tame.’
‘For us to develop an effective, fit-for-purpose Performance Management Framework, we really needed the engagement of the CD team. The CD team are a high-profile, complex and diverse team, with involvement across many different areas of the department.
‘When we’d come to grips with this project’s scope, we realised that we needed to try something innovative to get the results we needed,’ says Evie. In fact, the way the Grosvenor team approached this project was to rebuild the framework from the ground up” she explains.
‘We applied a logic model approach, in which we asked the CD team to first articulate the key outcome areas and outcome streams they were seeking. We then worked out what to measure to generate the data those outcomes required.’
A conventional approach may have been to see what performance data was available and use this to shape the framework, but this would not have allowed them to deliberately gear towards the outcomes they were seeking, Evie explains. ‘Articulating process against performance leads to a very siloed way of reporting. In contrast, an outcomes-first approach is a better practice that enables you to understand what you’re trying to do overall, what success looks like and how you will measure this.’
After intensive research, consultation and drafting, the Grosvenor team were able to distil five key focus areas.
5 Key Focus Areas for the Corporate Plan Performance Management Framework
- Cross-cutting performance criteria relating to advice
- Stakeholder consultation and engagement
- Delivery of national and international frameworks and agendas
- Monitoring and reporting of government priorities
- Delivery of the Department’s priority projects.
In the new Performance Management Framework developed by Grosvenor, the initial 100+ performance measures were reduced to fewer than 25, significantly reducing the burden of reporting and giving the CD team much greater clarity around their tactical outcomes and operational levels, Evie says.
‘In the new framework, we decided to distinguish the strategic outcomes from the operational outcomes identified.’ says Evie. ‘This allowed us to identify the outcomes that needed to be reported on at corporate levels and those that needed to be reported at divisional levels.’ This way, stakeholders received top line data and weren’t overwhelmed with information that was irrelevant to them.
‘The CD team now have the ability to report across their portfolio,’ says Evie. ‘As well as effectively supporting their compliance with legislation’. The Grosvenor Public Service Advisory team are well-versed in the legislation that binds Commonwealth entities, including The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (or the PGPA Act) which is designed to ensure high standards of accountability and governance for the use of public resources, and includes requirements to measure and report on performance.
The new Performance Management Framework is an efficient mechanism for reporting in aggregate, and it’s much more reflective of what the department actually does. I believe they’re very happy with it. The before and after of the project is much more significant than they realised it would be, and I’m pleased we could help them achieve everything they wanted and more. It’s definitely interesting and satisfying work.’
At Grosvenor, we pride ourselves on offering clients tailored services to address your specific requirements, rather than taking a ‘cookie cutter’ approach to your project.
This means that you, our clients, can expect us to:
- Continually refine objectives
- Seek clarity and consensus
- Avoid shortcuts and templates
- Adapt, be responsive and flexible
- Apply intellectual rigour at all levels
- Devise effective, practical and practicable measures to achieve outcomes.