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Natural Resources Canada
May 12, 1999

Establishing a Balanced Set of Measures.

Natural Resources Canada has five major goal areas:

  • To enable Canadians to make balanced decisions regarding natural resources
  • To sustain the economic and social benefits derived from natural resources for present and future generations
  • To minimize the environmental impacts of natural resource development and use
  • To contribute to the safety and security of Canadians
  • To manage the manage the Department efficiently and effectively

The last goal houses the employee component and measures. The customer service component is threaded through all of the goals. These goals were developed based on significant working level discussions, presentations to top management and stakeholder review. Quantifiable targets are set for some measures, but several measures are new and need a baseline established prior to setting targets.

All employees were invited to participate in workshops, with the core group expanded to intra-departmental team. All employees had input into process, which took approximately 6 months to develop first draft of indicators. A departmental performance measurement working group comprised officials from all sectors (divisions/departments) of the Department. Since the initial inception of the performance measures they have been continually evolving and include 39 as of March 1999.

A government-wide employee survey effort will support NRCan’s effort to integrate employee satisfaction. No link has been made to performance reviews.

Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, of the Office of the Auditor General, required all Federal departments to develop performance measures as part of their sustainable development strategies in 1997. What enabled NRCan to make the process successful were top management support, intra-departmental collaboration, and consultation with key stakeholders.

Establishing Accountability for a Balanced Set of Measures

The department’s Performance Measurement Working Group consists of sector representatives. These representatives coordinate input to the development of the indicators within their respective sector and seek direction/approval from their respective Assistant Deputy Minister.

Measuring Performance (Data Collection and Reporting)

The Performance Measurement Working Group is currently identifying the data sources for each indicator. In addition, the Working Group is assessing the frequency and start dates for reporting on each indicator.

Evaluating and Utilizing Performance Information and Performance Reporting to Customers and Stakeholders

The performance information is used for focus group discussions, develop questionnaires at site, and to get a good sense of where the customers want to go. A review is undertaken during the annual reporting cycle to consider changes in policy and procedures based on the performance of the organization.

The set of measurements significantly influences resource allocations, resource strategies, and operational strategies. It really depends upon which component.

NRCan has designed a process to monitor and report on macro outcome measures, which would include observations of their contribution to the outcome in an anecdotal fashion. The department would not attempt to disentangle the attribution of the department to macro indicators which are influenced by many factors.

Linkages Between Strategic Plan and Resource Allocation

NRCan’s mission is directly linked to the balanced set of measures. NRCan integrates their customer and employee measures into their 39 performance measurement system. A government-wide employee survey will be conducted in Canada and the results will be directly linked to the set of balanced measures. NRCan is in the process of aligning their strategic goals with their budget and resource allocations.

Next Steps

  • aligning strategic goals with budget and resource allocations
  • identifying data sources, reporting frequencies and start dates for indicators
  • seeking approval of Departmental Management Committee to begin reporting on indicators

Best Practices

  • Integrated strategic planning with budget
  • Creating supportive leadership through involvement and sign-off on requirements
  • Strategic plan and performance measures are customer-focused
  • Aligning strategic goals with budgets
  • Extensive review by external stakeholders of goals and measures.
  • Created user friendly reporting format with the indicator, what does it mean, the role of NRCan, and what is next. Thereby explaining the societal outcome and their observation of their contribution to the outcome.
  • Established numerical targets for some indicators and ‘directional’ targets (i.e., to maintain or improve on current performance) for indicators where baseline information is being identified
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