Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED Programme)
Action Space for local partnerships development in Croatia - Performance management, monitoring and evaluation systems
Assist in the establishment of strong performance management, monitoring and evaluation systems that would provide government and the wider community with information to measure and assess the contribution of partnerships to local development, thereby giving greater incentives to high performance. The performance of partnerships often depends on the robustness of their structure and the consensus reached on strategic priorities of the partnership.
Local partnerships will need to demonstrate the added value of their work, and governments would like to monitor and evaluate the contribution of partnerships in terms of progress made on development priorities and governance improvements. Performance management will therefore require commitments and inputs from both sides. National government, and if existent, an intermediary organisation should establish guidelines that local partnerships could follow in managing performance, monitoring and evaluating their work. Also important is the provision of adequate financial resources.
To introduce a strong performance management approach and a wider evaluation concept training and regular exchange of good practice and lessons learned will be important. Training to assess and improve performance has been introduced in nearly all OECD countries that endorsed the concept of partnership in policy design and delivery. Joint training series, bringing together partnership managers and government counterparts, have proofed to be successful in raising a general understanding of partnership work and in realising its benefits and limits.
Evaluation is important for the work of local partnerships and applies to both the internal governance of a partnership and its actual work. Evaluation should be considered an ongoing process, which is not limited to the finalisation of programmes or projects. Governments will have already preset targets, objectives and output against which they monitor and assess the work of local partnerships. These might not always reflect the local context and circumstances, and would therefore suggest an adaptation through the partnership. Often, a more outcome-based description of a programme of project result would allow a more flexible and effective approach, than the delivery against outputs, such as numbers of persons trained or re-integrated into the labour market.
Monitoring and information systems need to be robust and evaluation should be perceived as an objective exercise, free from political and single partners' interests. These systems are a valuable source of information for partnerships to create and expand the evidence base of their work. Here, it is important that the local partnerships have full access to existing statistical information, which they can use in developing additional local development indicators and development priorities, for instance through survey of residents’ views and wider research. This way the evidence base generated by the partnership will be a useful pre-requisite for their greater role in the drafting process of a local strategy. It will also be a requirement for ensuring legitimacy and accountability towards government partners and the wider community, and it can demonstrate value for money and the general added value from partnership working.
If the partnership and its partners lack capacity for establishing performance management, monitoring and evaluation systems, support by outsiders should be taken into consideration. The experience across OECD countries shows that universities are often strategic partners for local partnerships in 'doing the job' or in providing assistance in developing evaluation and monitoring techniques.
Key activities recommended to build strong performance management systems and foster a culture of evaluation include: establish a framework for performance management, monitoring and evaluation that provides clear guidance to local partnerships, provide adequate funding, as well as offer incentives and impose sanctions; support training and networking activities to build and enhance skills and to foster the exchange of information on good practice and lessons learned.
International Learning Models
The approach developed for Local Strategic Partnerships in England presents how partnerships are assisted in managing their complex agenda through offering guidance in establishing a strong performance management that allows for a review of objectives and outcomes, and partnership working and helps to improve planning and strengthen implementation.
The "Learning to Deliver" programme developed by Local Strategic Partnerships in the West Midlands shows how partnership managers worked together in identifying good practice and finding solutions to improve performance in partnership working and in making existing monitoring and evaluation practices best practice.
Overcoming barriers between local government and local partnerships and getting senior local government councillors interested in the concept of partnership working have been set as two learning objectives of the Leadership Academy, a national programme in England.