A project in the Department of Trade and Industry, led by Byron Grote of BP Amoco, has successfully proved that a performance management system used by oil companies can be applied in a public service context. Sir Michael Scholar, Permanent Secretary at the DTI, believes that the system should be extended to other areas of the department and elsewhere.A survey at the start of the project identified weaknesses in the current performance management arrangements. The aim and vision of the group taking part in the pilot was not well known to staff below director level. The links between personal objectives, group objectives, priorities, targets and strategic framework were not well recognised. Also there was a plethora of objectives which seemed disconnected from the ‘real’ work of the team.
An essential feature of the pilot were performance reviews involving three levels of management. From the reviews people gained a sense of direction and a shared context. The pilot revealed that many of the features of the system used by the oil companies were already present in the DTI, but they needed greater discipline and re-focusing.