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About Performance Networks
With the abolition of the Audit Commission in England, local government reform in Northern Ireland, the Public Sector Reform agenda in Wales and the work of the Accounts Commission in Scotland on using cost information to improve performance, the focus of benchmarking and performance measurement is very much on demonstrating value for money and delivering efficient and effective services at a local level.
Without robust performance information on important front-line services local authorities are unable to make decisions on service standards, the effective use of resources and the impact of changes to funding levels. APSE performance networks is used more and more to assist local authorities in undertaking LEAN reviews and redesigning services to meet the challenges of reducing budgets and the need to deliver efficiencies. It is a cost effective and valuable tool to assist local authorities in demonstrating value for money in a difficult economic and financial climate for local government.
Michael Hughes the former Director of Studies at the Audit Commission who was commissioned by APSE to carry out a review of the use of performance information by local authorities in a publication entitled Measure for measure states “good performance information is the lifeblood for councils trying to deliver value for money, and improved services, with less money.”
What is it?APSE performance networks is the largest voluntary public sector benchmarking service across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Used by over 200 local authorities it leads the way in local government benchmarking. The size of our membership gives added benefits to members by being able to offer a wide variety of comparator groups.
What services does it cover?
- Building cleaning
- Building maintenance
- Civic, cultural and community venues
- Culture, leisure and sport
- Education catering
- Highways and winter maintenance
- Other (civic and commercial) catering
- Parks, open spaces and horticultural services
- Refuse collection
- Sports and leisure facility management
- Street cleansing
- Street lighting
- Transport operations and vehicle maintenance
- Welfare catering
What do I get?
- Performance reports and profile information on other councils throughout the UK
- Personalised performance indicator standings reports
- Summary reports (contains all data submitted throughout the year and includes data ranges (highest, lowest and average), analysis by country, trend analysis and participation information).
- Direction of travel reports
- Additional comparator report
- Access to the members only web portal
- Free data completion and validator training sessions
- Peer support visits or assistance from experienced members from other local authorities
- One to one training and on-site visits from APSE principal advisors
- Dedicated support line during the data completion process
- Principal advisor-facilitated benchmarking meetings
- Process benchmarking meetings to look at how you can deliver your service at reduced cost or increased quality
Please click here to access a full prospectus of APSE performance networks.
Recognised and robust source of performance information
Described as an important asset by Inlogov and referenced in numerous audit and inspection reports performance networks is a widely recognised source of performance information within local government.
The Communities Secretary, Rt. Hon Eric Pickles MP has referred to APSE’s performance networks as one of the ways in which local authority performance can be independently assessed following the abolition of the Audit Commission.
In response to a question from a member of the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee on 13 September 2010 about how local authority performance would be assessed following the abolition of the Audit Commission and the Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA), Mr Pickles mentioned APSE as an organisation that produced comparative performance information for local authorities.
This is consistent with the Coalition Government’s approach to performance assessment through a new national improvement and efficiency programme a key aim of which is create a “bank of productivity data” for local government which will provide better financial information with evidence on what works in reducing costs in practice.
To see the Secretary of State’s answer to the Committee play the Windows media file above.
Please contact Emma Nolan at the APSE office for further information on joining performance networks.