New performance management framework drives performance culture at Surrey County Council
Working with Capgemini to turn our performance management around from start to finish in less than three months was a genuinely energizing experience. Liz Lawrence, Head of Planning and Service Development, Surrey County Council
In an increasingly demanding public sector, local authorities are looking to use performance management to help deliver better services to the citizen. Surrey County Council has to balance local and governmental needs, improving customer focus while at the same time delivering value for money. The Council also needs to work better with partners, improve the flow of information, as well as reinvigorate its appetite for continuous improvement.
Previous performance regimes had become bureaucratic with little employee buy-in. The Council was in danger of losing out in the government-defined Comprehensive Performance Assessment ratings. In addition, a simpler way of achieving performance improvement was required to support a structural reorganisation in Council Services that aimed to deliver savings of £34 million in the current year and ongoing.
Surrey County Council needed to work with an organisation that both understood the concept of performance management and could deliver within the financial and cultural constraints of local government. With a proven track record in public sector delivery, Capgemini was contracted to design and implement a new performance management framework for the Council.
The framework rested on three themes for improvement – simple, flexible and engaging. It facilitated:
- an approach that could be understood and used quickly and easily
- flexibility as the Council moved forward, and ease of adaptability as circumstances or uses changed
- new planning process that got people more involved immediately.
The approach recognises that frameworks, processes and systems are meaningless unless people are involved and motivated to act. The framework set the Council on a programme of continuous improvement in the way it manages performance.
The performance framework is now part of Surrey County Council’s culture. “People understand it, they bought it, they use it” says Liz Lawrence, “Performance management really now underpins how this Council operates”.