By Stuart Grifel, CIA, CGAP, CFE, CISA, Principal, Auditor Roles Project
In 2009 the Mayor and new City Administrative Officer of the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, introduced the concept of a Chief Performance Officer for the city government, based on the federal government’s chief performance officer title. The Winnipeg City Auditor was given this new title along with his many other audit related responsibilities, and has used the roles and practices encouraged by the Auditor Roles project to help shape and guide Chief Performance Officer activities, as indicated in the City Auditor’s March 2010 presentation: “Performance Measures: The Growing Trend for Municipal Accountability” (PDF 2 MB)
The City Auditor’s Roles as Chief Performance Officer
As Chief Performance Officer, the City Auditor was asked to take a greater role in ensuring that decision-makers have access to performance information that measures the “right things.” The expanded role includes providing advice and recommendations on the definition and development of performance measures and assistance on the implementation of performance management systems; reporting of performance information to the public and advocating for the use of performance information. The City Auditor’s Office believes that the availability of transparent performance information is essential for its citizens to understand how well services are being managed and will result in greater accountability for the tax dollars spent.
Performance Measures Evolving in Winnipeg and How the Auditor Helps Improve Them
From many audits, the Auditor’s Office found that many measures were not relevant to run the business of the City and that most emphasis was on input and output measures. As Chief Performance Officer, the auditor now encourages city departments to develop efficiency, effectiveness, and service level measures.
As part of the city’s commitment to performance management a Corporate Performance Coordinator position was established in the Chief Financial Officer’s Office. Currently, new or revised measures are sent to the Performance Measurement Coordinator for his review and then to the Auditor’s Office who provides advice on the usefulness and completeness of the measures. In reviewing the measures the Auditor’s Office takes the citizens’ view. Within two years the Auditor’s Office plans on conducting formal reviews of the measures for relevance and reliability. The City Auditor hopes that their assistance and advocacy roles will lay the foundation for an effective performance measurement system and informed decision making.
Winnipeg Comparing its Performance to Other Cities
In 2010 the City of Winnipeg joined the Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Consortium (OMBI), a group of 16 municipalities working together to achieve service excellence by leading the development and application of municipal measurement and benchmarking. Although Winnipeg is in the Province of Manitoba, the benchmarking consortium of the neighboring Province of Ontario offers Winnipeg a unique opportunity to compare performance with other Canadian cities. Calgary (in the Province of Alberta) has also joined OMBI which has potential to become a true national benchmarking consortium. The City of Winnipeg is conducting a pilot project this year collecting data and comparing their data results to other OMBI municipalities in 6 services using OMBI methods, protocols (measure definitions) and polices. Over the next two years the City will compare their measure results with the remaining 24 OMBI service areas.