Saturday, February 13, 2010

???? Should the Councillors have KPI’s ????

Why should they not is the bigger question!! KPI (key performance indicators) set a standard of excellence that one can be measured by.

It is extremely important that Councillors have KPI’s and being as we elect them it is us who should set them. Then when the election is about we will have an accurate measurement of their performance and not just a bunch of rhetoric of what great things they are going to do.

We have failed as ratepayers to exert our democratic rights and to tell those who we elect exactly what we expect of them.

So if you have a comment on the issue of Councillor KPI's or what the KPI's should be: have your say here.


  1. I first suggested this out of sheer frustration with some of my colleagues, more than a decade ago, whilst on council but in hindsight of 6 years as a councillor I think that idea is unworkable because:

    1. WHO would set the KPI’s, according to what/whose criteria” – there are many opposing views on any one matter out there in the community
    2. KPI’s can not set out every minute thing and tend to be broad almost motherhood-ie statements that you can usually drive a truck through; which means when assessing performance its just too easy to tick something as done
    3. More importantly: WHO would be the judge???
    4. Most importantly: a councillor on his/her own is unable to make decisions – it takes the whole council to do that, with multitude of differing opinions, agendas and wheeling and dealing that goes on behind the scenes over resources available (i.e. which ward/who gets what, and who backs who, for what in return – blocks of Cr’s working together)
    5. A new councillor is not walking into a Greenfields site – there are already great many things in train at any given time that tend to span many years (such as implementation of strategies (i.e. Community Plans are set for more than one year and can be for up to 3-5 years), on-going policies, budgets, funding in train for previously approved projects, etc. etc. etc.
    6. There is only so much money available to be spent each year, (& a good deal of it is ongoing but lesser priorities from previous years); there is never enough money to implement everything that is needed or wanted, and the Peninsula is a VERY big place.

    For all of the above reasons, and perhaps some that I have probably overlooked, I believe that KPI’s for Cr’s is an interesting, but ultimately unworkable idea.

    I also think that postal voting is a part of the problem because people are simply not engaged in the process to take as much interest as they ought to. But that alone is not by far the only reason why people are not engaging and/or as interested as they should be in LG.
    It is LG’s fault that people are not actively engaging, in part because much of goes on is rightly perceived as little more than spin, and the rest of the time ‘business as usual’. MPSC does not like criticism, and prefers to control what information people get.
    One way to change things, and here’s an idea: some council actually broadcast council meetings on-line! Imagine being able to see what your reps are up to form the comfort of your home! For that to work, there’d have to be less happening behind the closed doors, and less in camera items. Those in camera items that must be dealt with in camera ought to at least have a title on the report that indicates what is being discussed and decided. …..but I am sidetracking the issue here by moving on to other issues which are more important to a democratic local governance (openness / transparency, accountability, etc.)

    Hope you will give the above issues some more serious thought.
    Snez Plunkett

  2. Addendum & clarification to my earlier comment/post:

    KPI's rely on having a clearly defined job or a role. It doesn't exist for Councillors other than in the LG Act and if you look at that than my comment in number 2 applies. If the role is defined by say the ratepayers (with many and often conflicting interests), than my other comments apply.
    Communities in each of the wards would want different things done in their area and acheived by their representative and have different expectations. If I presume that KPI's would be co-ordinated by some body such as MPCW, I can envisige a different set of KPI's as being applicable in each area. Within each of those different communities/wards there will inevitably be differing views, so how would you (or MPCW or any other such body) ever claim to be representative - a question that equally applies to Cr's. At least eh Cr's ARE elected, however flawed the system is. And whilst on that note - what voting system do you propose as more democratic? First past the post definitely isn't. Proportional representation? We have been through this debate just post the amalgamation during the commissioners reign and there was then a significant community interest and input, mostly adopted and realised since that time.

  3. In answer to some points brought up by Snez:

    Yes, it would be tough to get a set of KPI’s but what I am thinking is we need some that define what we expect from our elected officials. I am not sure what these might be but would maybe include Transparency (completely open and frank and clearly recognizable as what it really is) and budget restraint and meeting with us without Officers present and budget restraints or a better budgeting process that gets more involvement at the front end. So, I propose that I (or someone else) collect and compile the data and put it together for all to review. Local issues are always local issues but the problem we face is larger than just local issues. It deals with ShireCulture, Systems and Procedures.

    One voting system alternative: take the top two candidates and have a run off. Easy to do with postal voting and not too costly. Many issues around best way. I was for single ward single councillor as a result of the huge campaign waged by TheShire in the last analysis but I am not sure it is the best as it seems have some huge territorial problems and then there is the divide and conquer issues with each representative having only a small agenda.

    Who would be the judge?? The ratepayers at the election. Now there is little (none) performance criteria to judge partly because of anti-Transparent (completely open and frank and clearly recognizable as what it really is) factions within Council. Giving them KPI’s, at least gets the message to them at least tells them what we expect.

    Your comments on engagement and spin is correct and the distaste for politics in general is bad and with good reason. And yes, it is much easier for TheShire to spin its way out of situations than to face up to them and maybe even admit that they made a mistake. Also much easier to criticize the newspapers for exposing them rather than taking responsibility for the mess they created (another form of spin – discredit the exposé – kill the messenger).

    Our Council would scoff at the issue of broadcasting into the home under the guise of confidentiality and that no one would participate, etc. etc. etc.. Also it would expose them to real public view which creates a great deal of fear on the part of those who should be held accountable.

    Yes on the in camera agendas. I have been bitching about to that but the seeds continue to fall on fallow ground (Mark 4: 1-6). Here again, we would then be in the know. I shudder to think of the discussions in camera. Like the discussion on whether to send anyone to Copenhagen for example. Allah only knows what or who else they discuss in these meetings. And I have now defined Chatham House Rule ( so they should no longer be confused by what that means. And my campaign to get what does confidential mean continues to little avail so far.

    I appreciate your comments and, yes, many of the issues you present are in my thoughts.

    Joe Lenzo: Editor

  4. One indicator that should be used is >> How well ones Councillor understands and can offer reasoned and well thought out comment / solutions to any issues that arise. Loosing achievement points for failing to take ideas / critism on board / dismissing valid & rational comment out of hand / driving discussions into the "gutter"/ using threats and hiding behind privacy rules etc / making stupidly inane & ridiculously false comments.

    Peter Edhouse - Hastings

  5. I suggest that to make the election system more democratic that wards be abolished and that the Mornington Peninsula be one unsubdivided ward. This way ward councillors elected on a particular issue by their ward constituents would not so easily be outvoted by other councillors representing other self-interested constituents. Councillors are elected to represent the whole Shire.

    Wellington Shire (Gippsland) is an example of an unsubdivided ward. Votes are counted using a mix of proportional and preferential methodologies. Explanation of the system can be found on the Victorian Electoral Commission website (or at least it was there during the last council elections).

  6. It could be kept very simple! like Tell the Truth at all times!