Benchmarking is an improvement process that helps organisations understand how they perform in comparison to other relevant organisations and how they can learn from others. At East Renfrewshire we benchmark our performance to find out how we are performing compared to others, where we are doing better and where and how we can improve.
This page outlines how we continuously improve the way we work by comparing our services against leading practice from across the public and private sectors.
Benchmarking is, in short, a comparison exercise. It is an important method for assessing how we are performing with the resources available. It shows us areas of good practice, and those for improvement, through comparing our performance, processes, and costs with others. Benchmarking data and activities can tell us as a council, not only how we are performing in relation to others, but can also support us in further improving our services.
East Renfrewshire Council uses a balance of measures to provide a clear picture of performance, against both partnership and council outcomes. The council's key partners include NHS, Police, Fire and Rescue, and Jobcentre Plus. All Scottish councils are required to report a range of information, sufficient to demonstrate we are securing best value in relation to a number of corporate management and service performance areas. A sample of this performance information can be found in the Statutory Performance Indicators report in the related links section of this page. We are also required to measure performance against a specific set of indicators called the Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF). They cover a range of topics such as education, council tax collection, refuse collection, recycling, social work, roads and street cleaning, and can be used to compare our performance with other councils across Scotland. As well as this, councils collect a wider range of performance information on a number of local performance indicators, which are tailored specifically to the needs and circumstances of the local area. More information on how we are performing against these indicators can be found in our performance pages in the related links section of this page.
Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF)
SOLACE has been working with the Improvement Service (IS) to develop a benchmarking framework on behalf of Scottish councils. The framework for 2014-15 was published by the IS in January 2016. This included a national report on the indicators published on their website and the launch of the mylocalcounciltool which provides local data.
East Renfrewshire's performance against the LGBF dataset shows a broadly balanced picture of performance, with the majority of indicators (almost 60%) in the upper quartiles, and good performance in key outcome areas, making differences to people's lives in education, recycling and housing. More information on our performance in relation to these indicators can be accessed through the related links section of this webpage where a report on the local context and East Renfrewshire's data for these indicators is available. More information can also be found throughout the other performance pages on our website.
How we use benchmarking information
Benchmarking information is used to improve council services. For example, data is collected on roads, council housing rents and allocations. This is then used to make improvements to those services. In Education, benchmarking information is collected on a variety of topics such as attendances, exclusions and SQA attainment results by school.
|Department||Examples of benchmarking data||How is this used?|
|Corporate and Community Services|
HR absence data
Citizens' Panel data
Employee Survey data
Quarterly monitoring reports to Corporate Management Team
Local numeracy and literacy data
Self evaluation exercises
Education Department Standards and Quality Report
Improving levels of educational attainment
National data collected on estate management
Rents and repairs
Allocations and homelessness data
To develop model forms, customer surveys and common protocols
As a council, we also use trend information and compare our performance against external organisations from across the public sector. This process helps us to continually improve our services and deliver Best Value for residents of East Renfrewshire.
Family Groups Pilot Project
The Improvement Service has been coordinating wider benchmarking activity across all Scottish councils. Each council has been allocated to a 'family group' made up of councils of similar characteristics for more meaningful comparisons, analysis and sharing of best practice. So far, family group projects have been undertaken for positive destinations and roads. Other family group projects currently being undertaken include Sports Services; Waste Management; and Looked after Children.
Community Planning Outcomes Profile
The Community Planning Outcomes Profile is a project endorsed by the Public Sector Reform Board, SOLACE and the Outcomes, Evidence and Performance Advisory Board. It aims to provide decision makers with a standard set of indicators to evaluate and guide local community planning arrangements to allow for better decision making in light of:
- Increased financial pressures and reduced resources
- Community Empowerment Bill - Outcome Improvement Plans
- Locality planning, prevention and joint resourcing
The Outcomes profile hopes to provide a clear picture of life outcomes, life opportunities, and inequalities within Community Planning Partnership areas, as well as developing improved measures of outputs that local partnerships can influence. In its first year the Community Planning Outcomes Profile is targeted and Community Panning Partnership Boards, in year 2 this is intended to be made available to the public following refinements.
Other benchmarking networks
Participation in benchmarking groups enables us to share and compare data and processes with other organisations. It also helps us to identify new solutions to common problems. We take part in other benchmarking networks. These include:
- Association for Public Sector Excellence (APSE)
- Scotland's Housing Network (SHN)
- Complaints Handlers' Network (CHN)
Service areas that are benchmarked include absence management, catering, communications, complaints processes, libraries, customer contact, health and safety, performance management, recruitment and selection and many more.