Once again APSE pulls a capacity crowd for our performance networks conference in Blackpool. 425 delegates turn up to compare their experiences of performance management and to learn from their peers, the most improved and best performers.
One of the highlights of the event is the presentation from Sam Clark, who is the Assistant Director of Citistat, the performance management system used by the City of Baltimore in the USA. Sam speaks for about 30 minutes and receives enough questions to allow him to more than double his time slot.
Having lunch with Sam afterwards I take the opportunity to quiz him about whether the system of local government varies greatly from that in the UK. He explains that basically the Mayor is elected on a mandate then appoints officers to her / his office to deliver on this manifesto. 60% of taxation is raised locally and therefore the Mayor is solely accountable to local people. Sam found it really difficult to understand how audit bodies and Central Government had influence over how services are delivered locally in the UK.
Television personality Denise Welch presents a series of awards in the evening and brings the house down with some stand up before the proceedings commence. I am sure that some people will object to some of the stories she told, however when I looked around the hall most people were finding it extremely difficult to stifle their laughter.