A Review of Annual Progress Reports

Boyle, Richard


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URL http://edoc.vifapol.de/opus/volltexte/2009/1112/
Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: CPMR- Committee for Public Management Research
Schriftenreihe: CPMR discussion paper
Bandnummer: 18
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2001
Publikationsdatum: 30.03.2009
Originalveröffentlichung: http://www.cpmr.gov.ie/publications/discussion-papers/ (2001)
DDC-Sachgruppe: Öffentliche Verwaltung
BK - Basisklassifikation: 88.20 (Organisation staatlicher Einrichtungen, Management staatlicher Einrichtungen)
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.7 Verwaltungswissenschaften

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

This paper examines annual progress reports produced by government departments and offices. The Public Service Management Act, 1997 mandates the publication of progress reports to illustrate progress in the implementation of strategy statements. International experience in the assessment of annual performance reports is drawn on to help determine criteria against which to judge the quality and relevance of annual progress reports. Three main criteria (with sub-criteria) are used in the review: accessibility, quality of performance reporting and promotion of learning. The review examines annual progress reports produced covering the years 1998 and 1999. From this review of experience to date with the first two rounds of annual progress reports, a number of limitations in current practice are identified. Among the issues highlighted in the review, the following are of particular concern. · Only just over half the departments and offices surveyed produced a progress report annually. · In several reports, due to the way information is presented, it is difficult if not impossible to assess progress against the objectives and strategies as contained in the strategy statement. · Nearly all the reporting is activity- and output-based. It is not possible in most cases to form a judgement as to what is happening as a result of this activity i.e. the results. · Little use is made of comparative data to put progress reporting in context. Year-onyear trends are infrequently used, but are the most common source of comparative data. The level of performance is rarely contrasted with expected performance levels. · Reports are generally data-deficient, with little use of performance information or performance indicators. In some cases where performance indicators have been listed in strategy statements, they are not subsequently used in the progress reports. · Reports focus almost exclusively on listing achievements. There is little in the way of balanced discussion or identification of areas where progress has not been made.There is little or no discussion in reports on the continued relevance of objectives and strategies. Some objectives and strategies are simply not reported on. In other cases, new objectives and strategies are included in the reports, but there is no discussion of why this is done. · Many reports give little sense of what lessons are being learned from implementation and from changes in the environment. The current state of play with regard to annual progress reports on the implementation of strategy statements is disappointing. In general, the reports do not provide a sufficiently balanced and informed picture of how departments and offices are progressing against agreed objectives and strategies. The widespread absence of data, and focus on activity reporting, makes assessment of performance difficult if not impossible in many cases. If annual progress reports are to be a useful part of the public accountability process,they will need to change. In particular, three issues are identified which require further consideration: · the development of guidance on the role of annual progress reports and ongoing central support. This guidance should not be over prescriptive. If it is, there is a danger that it will lead to routine form-filling exercises. · the establishment of appropriate quality assurance systems and procedures to assure the quality of information in annual progress reports. Independent, external validation of reports should be considered. The Comptroller and Auditor General may have a role to play here. Care is needed to avoid over-bureaucratic and blameapportioning approaches. The emphasis should be on promoting good practice. · the encouragement of active use of annual progress reports by the Oireachtas, citizens, and management and staff of departments and offices. More use of reports in the management and accountability of departments and offices will lead to more pressure to improve the information contained in annual progress reports.

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