Part 2: Providing a coherent account of performance

Effective performance reporting should fairly present the performance of a public organisation. It should describe why the public organisation exists, what it intends to achieve (i.e. its outcomes and impacts), and how it is achieving this through its services (i.e. its outputs and how it operates).

A clear performance reporting framework and intervention logic should reflect a public organisation’s business model. It should show how the public organisation intends to achieve, or make progress towards, its strategic intentions (such as outcomes and impacts) through its services.

As recognised by PBE FRS 48, when public organisations are deciding what to report, they should consider what they are responsible for. For some public organisations, reporting on their service delivery will rightly be the main focus of their performance reporting. For others, the impacts and the outcomes they are seeking, such as improvements in the health, education, welfare, and/or social or economic well-being of the public or a segment of society, will also be important, given the nature of their role.

When the links between a public organisation’s services and its broader intended achievements are well set out, this should enable a well-connected and coherent account that gives a sense of whether the public organisation is on track with its service delivery and making the difference it wants.

Many larger public organisations have multiple strategic accountability frameworks that overlap as part of their operating environment. For some public organisations, there can also be complex, one-to-many relationships between their appropriated spending, services, and outcomes.

Examples of good practice

Our good practice examples are categorised under two themes:

What to avoid and what to aim for

What to avoid What to aim for

Having multiple strategic/outcome/performance frameworks without integrating them.

Approaches and tools for structuring performance information and making performance achievements understandable (e.g. one-page visual performance reporting frameworks, matrices that connect spending, and services/outcomes).

Not reporting against all performance elements in the performance framework (such as strategic intentions, outcomes, impacts, and services).

Meaningful analysis and commentary on the reported results for the performance measures at each level of the performance framework and rich explanations and/or examples of the connections between the services and impacts/outcomes.

Being unclear about how the elements in the performance framework are connected, including between:

  • the financial and non-financial performance information; and/or
  • the reporting on services and the reporting against strategic intentions and on its impacts and outcomes.

Clear and logical connections between the different elements in the performance framework that is also reflected in the performance information.

Financial and non-financial information that shows whether significant shifts in resources have achieved planned changes to performance.