Council performance measurement a dog’s breakfast’


The new team emerging from Queenstown Lakes District Council’s overhaul will likely operate under a rigorous new performance measurement regime. 

A leaked consultation document into a proposed restructure says the existing regime isn’t suitable for considering the output of teams or individuals. 

The document says a comprehensive system is in place but the measures are too numerous to be effectively managed. 

Or, as council chief executive Adam Feeley puts it: “It’s a dog’s breakfast. We’ve got performance measurements for Africa and half of them are being ignored. 

“Go through our Annual Report – there are dozens upon dozens of performance measures and most of them are meaningless. What I’d rather have are fewer performance measures but ones that are really meaningful. 

“I want to focus on that because I really want this council to have a sense of accountability to people and actually have some sensible measures,” Feeley says. 

The document recommends an existing review of the performance measurement system be given priority so it can be implemented as soon as possible after the proposed restructure: “Measurement focuses attention and directs behaviour. It ensures the focus is on the right things, the things that will advance achievement of the organisation’s strategy,” it says. 

“This is particularly important with so many competing demands on the organisation’s time and resources.”
It also recommends creation of a new role – corporate planning and performance advisor – responsible for overseeing performance measurement. 

Feeley loves the idea: “You need a bit of a process Nazi in every organisation – someone who just loves going around and making sure … are we doing this and that?” 

The new staffer would report directly to his office, which will be beefed up under a proposal recommending creation of an Office of the Chief Executive. 

It’s one of the few council areas to see a staff increase – overall, the document proposes slashing 80 roles – or the equivalent of almost 42 fulltime positions – from the council’s 334-strong roster. Feeley’s executive team would rise from seven fulltime equivalents to 9.69. 

“We don’t have a bloody system where we monitor what we do and attribute our time. I really want to do that. And I’d like to think people look on that and say, actually, that’s a bloody good thing and we’re pleased to see someone wants to be accountable for how we spend the money in council.”