Performance measurement made easy

The City of Cockburn took out a Performance Measurement Award for the whole of its organisation at the Western Australian Municipal Association's Best Practice in Local Government Awards in November. The award was made for Cockburn's design of a system of performance measurement which could be used in all its 29 Business Units.

Director of Finance and Corporate Services, Ozzie Carruthers, said having gone down the track of organising services into business units it was essential to have a system in place for ensuring they were performing to target level. He said the Balanced Scorecard System had usually been applied at the top level of management not individual service units.

"Now at the press of a button service unit managers can see for themselves how everything in their service area is going," he said. "It allows mangers to observe trends in performance, identify problem areas and take steps to change factors which are causing ongoing problems."

Ozzie said the system is currently updated once a month but will shortly be upgraded to give a daily readout of performance. "In this way, problems can be recognised and identified early, before they become entrenched or cause further difficulties," he said.

He explained that managers can 'drill into' service areas giving an automatic indication if they are falling below target levels or previous performance levels. This then allows the manager to identify if a problem is due to factors occurring on a one off basis or more regularly.

He said the Scorecard system also shows how a Unit has performed in the previous year or previous months or days, and sets an improvement target.

He said the system is currently in its early days and will be reviewed once it has been in operation for some time. This will allow adaptations to be made if it is not assessing appropriate factors. "It is a developing exercise," he said "We will continue working on it as circumstances change and develop."

For further information contact Ozzie Carruthers, telephone (08) 9411 3444