CPA Congress: Enterprise Performance Management with Paulette Robinson
October 19, 2017

The CPA Congress is just five days away, and we’re bringing you an in depth look at the variety of topics we’ll be covering during the three-day Canberra conference. Next up, is one of Synergy’s partners, Paulette Robinson, sharing her insights on Enterprise Performance Management.

Q: What is the overarching concept of enterprise performance management?

Enterprise performance management, in its current form, was born out of the changes to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), and the legislative requirements for agencies to track and report on their performance annually. To ensure agencies adhere to the PGPA Act, they need to develop their Corporate Plan and in doing so:

  • identify key performance drivers for the achievement of their outcomes and purposes,
  • identify and monitor performance targets, and
  • report on their performance in the Annual Performance Statement.

So how do agencies create an enterprise performance management framework? Well, that’s where we come in. We can help agencies develop a robust framework by confirming:

  1. agencies outcomes and purposes,
  2. key priorities, strategies and initiatives over the next year and forward estimates
  3. performance metrics
  4. core activities, and
  5. core drivers.

From here, we develop the corporate plan. The corporate plan says, ‘this is what we’re going to do over the next five years, this is the environment we are working in, here are the risks, this is how we’re going to achieve and it, and how we’re going to measure it’. Then, when it comes to reporting in the annual performance statement, we report against those key performance indicators (KPIs) and performance targets set out in the corporate plan and explain how government outcomes have been achieved.

Q: What is the purpose of enterprise performance management?

The concept of enterprise performance management is not new. Agencies have been preparing a corporate plan and reporting on performance for years, however, with the advent of the PGPA Act the content of the corporate plan and the format of the annual performance statements are now specified and must represent a “clear read” i.e. the performance statement must specifically report on all planned performance indicators initially represented in the corporate plan. This has not always been the case in the past.

Our experience has been that some agencies just don’t have the expertise or the available resources to bring the performance management framework together.  Responsibility for the preparation of the corporate plan and the annual report has often been coordinated in different areas by different people, with different levels of experience and organisational knowledge.  There has been no formal monitoring and reporting on progress during the year and management assurance was limited.  Synergy has the experience and knowledge to bring the framework together in order to better enable it to work more efficiently and effectively.

In addition, there is a new requirement under the PGPA Act, in a role similar to financial statements, the Accountable Authority must assure the reporting of performance information in the Annual Performance Statement is accurate.  Further, agencies may very well be audited by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). Therefore, it is really important that there is management assurance component within the framework to ensure it stands up to scrutiny.

Frameworks created by Synergy have been subject to internal audit at various clients and they have stood up well to that scrutiny, this shows our methodology and our processes work well and are robust.

Synergy knows the requirements intimately and we have the methodologies and the tools to create an effective enterprise performance framework that will sail through external scrutiny, but more importantly will provide decision makers with vital information to ensure their agency meets key performance outcomes.

Q: What is the key message?

It’s really important to have someone who has done it before. Someone who knows what they’re doing and knows how to implement tried and true methodologies, frameworks, processes and practices.

Q: What sets Synergy apart when it comes to providing such a service?

We’re a local firm and we only work with government so we actually know the Commonwealth framework, processes and procedures and legislative requirements inside out. We know what it takes to do this work, and more importantly, we’ve got the experience to back that up.

Q: How does enterprise performance management help the workplace?

It enables agencies to focus on the essential outcomes and priorities of the Australian Government.  A fresh look at the enterprise performance management landscape can drive changes that will create more efficient and effective agencies.

It is interesting that we have come across agencies where there are activities being undertaken for outdated requirements or outcomes. Some workplaces haven’t changed their focus in several years, so to ensure agencies have a clear focus on performance and an understanding of the resources available, we really have to ask:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What are we hoping to achieve from it?
  • How does it meet our outcomes?

Q: How does this lead (or contribute) to high-performance in the workplace?

Enterprise performance management holds people to account.

The new performance statement is the Chief Executive Officer’s or the Secretary’s commitment to owning the performance of the agency. And it is this leadership from the leader within the organisation that encourages employees to focus on their individual performance requirements.

Finally, a performance framework should do two things:

  1. Hold the agency responsible for the achievement of its outcomes, and
  2. Provide a direct line of strategic sight; from the organisation’s corporate plan, right down through business planning, to each employee’s work and performance plans.