Benchmarking is critical in managing change in the public sector. For councils it is vital in developing shared service agreements, for cost cutting and for outsourcing.
In this briefing, the Society for IT Management, presents a forceful case for benchmarking and it highlights particular areas of change where it can bring greater benefits.
The briefing cites an LGA report on shared services to remind readers that knowing where you are at the starting point is essential to making any decision about changing things in future. All five shared service arrangements identified in the LGA report had inadequate baseline information, making it hard track their performance over time and assess benefits.
Monitoring trends and assessing the value of changes is an important part of the management job especially when trying to manage a service challenged by unprecedented cuts. Managers need to know what to cut, and by how much, says the Socitm Briefing. Without the financial and performance information that benchmarking provides it is not possible to know where cuts might be made with minimum impact on the quality or quantity of services that users receive and the minimum collateral damage elsewhere.
For organisations considering outsourcing, benchmarking is a means of knowing how much more expensive are their current operations than those of high performing peers. This enables the setting of appropriate targets for savings to be achieved from outsourcing. Once outsourcing is in place, benchmarking can be used to ensure that the service meets these targets.
The briefing is available from SOCITM.