Abstracts: May 24th, 2006

This paper from the Improvement and Development Agency is about priorities and the process of prioritisation. It attempts to unpack what these mean in practice. It addresses the challenge of a continual stream of new things that need to be done. There are always new national priorities, new local priorities, or existing services that need to be developed, improved or renewed. Taking on new activity is often not balanced by dropping some of the old. The result is often too much ‘on the books’.Like a lot of aspects of performance management, setting priorities involves detailed analysis, hard thinking and careful handling. It can’t be done superficially. But getting it right can bring big rewards. The paper explores what happens to areas that aren’t on the priority list and how to respond to the stakeholders of issues that have become non-priorities. It realistically looks at the easier option of not engaging with ‘wriggly worms’

The paper stems from research by the Audit Commission and IDeA performance management, measurement and information project. It also draws on analysis of comprehensive performance assessment findings.

The paper is available at: http://www.idea-knowledge.gov.uk/idk/aio/4446310