Quarkside

10/02/2011

IG Outcomes: Focus on Benefits

Filed under: Objectives,Outcomes,People,Policy,Process,Strategy,Time — lenand @ 9:42 am
Tags: , , , ,

Quarkside’s reason for promoting Information Governance (IG) processes is a belief that better public services are possible. Better Outcomes. Benefits.

Information Governance is the setting of Objectives to achieve measurable Outcomes by People using information Assets in a life cycle Process that considers the impact of both Risk and Time.

Improved service levels and efficiency can result if more effective use is made of documents and data that is amassed in archives, filing cabinets and computer data stores. The current budget reductions need innovative thinking to abstract more from historical data, sharing data and sharing data centres.

The portents are good. It is now possible to share data between local authorities and the NHS by linking the N3 and GCSX networks. The Information Governance requirements have been met. This removes a major constraint to implementing the recommendations of Lord Laming’s Enquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié.

Examples of outcomes can be found in the Scottish Government web site.  They are easy to understand and credibly linked to one another.  Information sharing partnerships could benefit from reviewing these and basing their own desired Outcomes upon them; children, crime, employment, health and enviroment all feature in the list of fifteen.

Outcomes, with good governance, should be comparable to the Objectives. The previous IG blog listed seven candidate secondary dimensions for Objectives. Let’s take them forward as an example of using the Framework; as questions that could appear in quality assurance of the results:

  • Policy: How far have we progressed towards the political vision and maximising value from the information assets? Are transformation targets being achieved?
  • Strategy: How many programmes have benefited from information sharing and improved knowledge management? Are the benefits being realised?
  • Law: Can we be assured that all laws, regulations and statutes have been followed?
  • Constraints: Have local conditions, culture and practice been factored into the Information Governance regime?
  • Scope: Have all target business area and organisational functions been included in the Information Governance processes?
  • Context: Has the impact on external and internal organisations met expectations?
  • Specifications: Has performance met the requirements and are control mechanisms in place? What is the evidence that information sharing has obeyed Information Assurance standards?

Secondary dimensions should be tailored to the organisation and its aspirations.  They need not be all embracing, but focussed on current and future priorities.

The political pressure for more shared services, in both central and local government, amplifies the requirement for shared Objectives and Outcomes.  Good Information Governance is necessary to build trust between partners.  Each partner has to be assured that other partners treat information with equal or greater respect, and this starts by aligning Objectives and desired Outcomes.  It should finish with an information assurance process that confirm that trust is deserved.

Identifying Outcomes and using them as a primary driver is not easy. The Local Government Improvement and Development agency (formerly IDeA) studied “Implementing outcomes based accountability in children’s services“.  Whereas People can easily accept the concepts, formal methods require a high level of training and adoption of common language.  This takes more time than People are prepared to invest.  Quarkside believes that Outcomes should be governed qualitatively, not quantitatively with manufactured measures that just feed bureaucrats.  Superficially at least, Scotland seems to have a more pragmatic approach.

Cultural considerations are so important for introducing change in Process, particularly in new information sharing partnerships. Culture is included in the People dimension of the 7DIG framework, to follow.

Advertisements

25/01/2011

Partnership Pie. Recipe Revealed

Filed under: Governance,Local Government,Process,Risk,Standards — lenand @ 7:42 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Independent review of performance and local accountability is needed to reduce the costs of internal public sector bureaucracy – or so suggests the Centre for Public Service Partnerships.   They responded to the HM Treasury and Cabinet Office call for evidence on public service reform.

Partnerships have to be the key to improving efficiency through shared and sharing services.  Quarkside hinted at this in November in relation to cooperation between the NHS and local authorities.  A key enabler is a process for building adaptable and sustainable partnerships.  The groundwork for a viable multi-agency framework was completed in a DCLG national project.  There’s also a roadmap to use at the initial stages of building a partnership, showing partners the critical success factors and levels of risk.  It can be done in a standard (ie common) way across any (or all) recipe(s) for partnership pie.

The full response is worth a read, but the last point supports Quarkside’s pressure for improving public sector governance:

18. What specific data or information would you like to see made publicly available in order to help individuals and local communities hold services to account?

There is a need for some standardised data for public service performance and costs which is comparable between agencies and services; verifiable; independently audited; and accessible and understandable to the public. This data should be available irrespective of the provider of the service and/or its commissioner or procurer. Prime accountability for public services should be either directly through an economic relationship between provider and user or through local government accountability

Yesterday’s blog was a prime example of how NHS bureaucracy only succeeds in baffling the public, hiding the facts and costing a fortune to operate.  It is hardly an easy model to follow in multi-agency shared services.

Blog at WordPress.com.