“Is performance management still relevant?” was the thought-provoking question posed by Murray Kronick in the February edition of Canadian Government Executive. The article noted that while performance management is still highly relevant, there are five key issues that need to be addressed to advance the practice over the coming years.
The upcoming 2013 PPX symposium in Ottawa will address these five issues in a fulsome and interactive manner. Tom Wileman, chair of the PPX symposium planning committee (and retired audit principal at the Office of the Auditor General of Canada), has designed a program for the three-day event that will provide insight, information sharing and exchange of best practices on the issues as follows:
• Improving organizational planning and performance: This issue is central to the theme of this year’s symposium: “Planning for Performance throughout the Business Cycle.” The symposium will provide a variety of practical learning opportunities for attendees who want to improve their planning and performance-related skills. Participants can take inspiration from two of this year’s presenters: former senior deputy ministers, Maria Barrados (former president of the Public Service Commission) and Bill Baker (former Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency). Symposium attendees will also be able to participate in workshops that link planning, monitoring and program decision-making with performance, gaining from the hands-on experience of professionals currently working in the public sector. Nik Nanos, president and CEO of Nanos Research, will discuss the use of public opinion research as a key to successful planning, while Kevin Page, Canada’s first Parliamentary Budget Officer, will discuss the role of transparency and openness in performance management.
• Measuring program efficiency and effectiveness: Professor Evert Lindquist, director of the University of Victoria’s School of Public Administration and a leading expert, will present his recent research into the development of effective efficiency and cost indicators in the public sector. Attendees will also be able to participate in workshops that examine effectiveness issues, including opportunities for enhanced use of program evaluation, and the connection between evaluation and performance measurement.
• Planning and reporting in a government context: The opening keynote presentation by Bill Matthews, a senior official from Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, will examine the latest developments in reporting of planned expenditures in response to recommendations of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. There will also be presentations on how Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada are implementing policy requirements for the collection, management and reporting of performance information.
• Integrating planning functions, such as management of risk, human resources and finance, to ensure efficient use of resources: As noted above, symposium attendees will hear from Maria Barrados and Bill Baker, who have dealt with these issues on an organizational as well as on a government-wide basis. Dr. Barrados is uniquely placed to link human resources management with performance, while Mr. Baker has considerable experience in leading a large government agency. One workshop features senior professionals from the Canada Border Services Agency who will explain how they are integrating the different facets of corporate performance measurement.
• Monitoring departmental and program impacts using meaningful measures: The symposium will feature a workshop on the latest thinking on planning, monitoring and evaluating program impacts. Steve Montague, co-president of PPX and a partner in Performance Management Network in Ottawa, will describe what works in complex environments. He will present key principles and share analytical tools and approaches. The first day of the three-day symposium features a workshop on Results-Based Management (RBM-101) by Murray Kronick and Steve Montague, both internationally recognized experts in the field. This is a highly practical course that many people have benefitted from in previous sessions.
This year’s symposium has been structured to enable and foster networking among planning and performance management professionals. The overall aim is to share best practices, to generate further innovation and to expand the knowledge and capacity of the planning- and performance-related community.