We had a great performance management event last Friday, sponsored by the IDeA and the Local Authority Research Councils Initiative. There was a great line-up of speakers who covered everything from the academic theoretical side of performance management to the nuts and bolts of systems thinking to rubbish collection and disposal in Northern Ireland.
This conference came at a great time – there are increasing demands on performance management in the public sector – through new regulatory regimes (CAA) and the complexities of partnership accountabilities (LAA). There are also increasing demands on public sector performance – higher expectations from citizens and the pressures of efficiency – doing more with less. What we’ve done before – while good – no longer satisfies these demands. And we need to bring performance management and the whole approach to improvement to that next level.
The proceedings of the day have all been captured at www.ideaperformance.com. Dave Briggs set up the site and helped us with capturing content at the event. But before the event even started we used that “social learning space” to inform the day’s proceedings by asking the wider performance community of practice what we should be talking about and there were a number of comments.
The conversation doesn’t end there. We’ve had comments on Adrian Barker’s introductory talk of the day (with video) and follow up comments from one of the day’s speakers. More importantly, because of the way that it’s captured, it will be useful to shaping how we at the IDeA and across the LGA group think about how we’re supporting performance management and improvement. In fact, content was used at a planning meeting this morning. And we’re using the site again at another performance management related event at the end of this month. (I think we’d probably use a different site if looking at a separate topic. )
I’ve been involved in a number of great performance management events over the years – and I have to say I really enjoyed this one a lot. If there was a learning point – it might be 1. Fewer speakers, more time to interact (although I liked all the speakers, so no idea who I would cut) 2. It would have been great to have more innovative service managers who are driving performance at the front line.
As for the social reporting elements – I think we’re still learning. Overall, I think it was a great experience and I’m really excited to be using this at the next event. If I had it to do over again, I think I would plan a little bit more and seed the audience with a few more people who were willing to take a really active role. I would also make sure the wifi was working (!!!) I was chairing the day, so I wasn’t really able to help with capturing the proceedings (but I will at the next event). Adrian did a fair bit of notetaking and we all split up to capture workshop notes (which worked brilliantly). But I don’t want to sound too negative, because I think it was overall a brilliant success and the site looks fantastic. We’ve never captured and disseminated content so quickly – essentially in real time.
And I think there’s another learning point – that a lot of this content is quite specialised. Dave Briggs has a background in local government and risk management – some of that crosses over into the world of performance management in local government – so he was able to really engage with the material – even though I’m sure he found the world of PM jargon a little mind-blurring. But I’m not sure that just anyone with his social media skills but without his local government background would have been able to to do as well.