Developing a balanced scorecard is a key business strategy for monitoring organizational health and performance.
Outcomes related to performance are what really matter
Many governments throughout North America and Europe now utilize this approach as an attempt to change the traditional focus on inputs (spending) to what really matters—the outcomes related to performance.
Essentially, this approach identifies key indicators, with measures of performance for desired outcomes. The key is to ensure that balance in measures is achieved by considering all aspects of government. Therefore finance measures, which are always included, are supported by measures related to physical safety, public transit, parks and recreation, health, roads, etc.
Abbotsford’s strategic planning process is relatively weak in its measurement of performance, which is indicative of its low priority to account for the quality of its services to the public.
How do we demonstrate that transparency is related to accountability?
In contrast, identifying performance measures for all aspects of government services demonstrates that accountability is a high priority. Publishing these results routinely—and in a concise format such as a scorecard—demonstrates that transparency is related to accountability.
Frequently organizations rely on their staff to identify perspectives and present proposals in strategic planning, as well as the measures of performance. The staff’s built-in biases, developed from working within the organization, can often lead to in-the-box thinking.
Public participation helps ensure out-of-the-box perspectives are included
Inviting the public to participate in the planning process alongside city staff and elected officials will help ensure that out-of-the box perspectives are included. Therefore the advisory committee, which includes staff representatives, should be dominated by community representatives outside of government. City Council is the final arbiter of their proposal.
Transparency leads to accountability, which in turn leads to public trust
This effort at increasing accountability and transparency also increases public trust and confidence. The balanced scorecard approach also ensures that Council has a balanced focus for providing taxpayers with effective and efficient government.
As mayor, I will work with council to develop an advisory committee of citizens who, in consultation with staff, will refine Abbotsford’s strategic plan so that outcomes are developed for a balanced scorecard.