15 April 2013

Last week State Services Commission posted to its website a series of new resources relating to the Performance Improvement Framework. This promotion seems to be part of broadening the understanding of outcomes sought from this review process.. PIF was developed by the central agencies in 2009, blended from British and Canadian evaluation tools, together with the best features of a range of other management resources designed for both private and public sectors.  PIF has been applied progressively to Public Service departments and several other agencies, providing insights which should enable them to adapt strategies to meet expectations of Ministers, the public and their senior staff.  Independent PIF reviewers’ assessments are shown with “traffic lights”.  These provide a graphic comparison of the effectiveness of agencies in organising their resources to deliver Better Public Services goals.

The PIF which looms large in the priorities of chief executives, appears largely unknown to many junior managers and their staff.  The newly published resources should help raise awareness of its scope and relevance to all in the sector.  That would seem to be the aim of the series of attractively packaged videos setting out how agencies can raise their performance. “Getting to Great” presents perspectives of a number of agencies that rate well in several of the PIF measures.  Surprisingly for a Public Service of more than 36,000 employees, more than half of whom are likely to have access to streaming video on their desktop, only very small numbers have watched the videos in the first few days.

SSC concurrently published a montage of photos, compiled as a video, featuring departmental achievements over the last hundred years of the Public Service. This April marks the centenary of the commencement date of most powers and responsibilities in the Public Service Act 1912.  What should be of broad interest seems to have had only 15 other viewers –in addition to the twice I have watched it –and some of those 15 may not have watched to its end as the sound track seems to have self destructed.