Reporting on performance across the government sector has traditionally been an internal process of providing static indicator reports of current state against baselines and targets to senior managers and elected officials. In parallel, there has been an external process of providing reports and data to a central government agency and an auditing body. Content of performance reports has often been driven by the reporting specifications of the central agency – as such the content and style of reports reflects the needs of this audience but rarely those of others.
However in recent years the situation is changing fast. There are increasing pressures on government bodies worldwide to demonstrate the effective use of public resources. There has been a widespread emergence of performance and results-based management approaches with renewed emphasis on results-oriented business planning, accountability and performance reporting. Agencies are now seeing the benefits of implementing these performance management practices.
How have these developments impacted on performance reporting? Internal reporting is becoming more sophisticated with the use of hierarchical scorecards to present a balanced view of performance tailored to different stakeholders. Visual markers and traffic-light colouring are often used to highlight underachievement and exceptions. Externally, public agencies are being actively encouraged to make their performance reports available to a wider citizen community. There are many challenges to this process not least how to present information to users in a way that is engaging, relevant, understandable and useful in the context of expectations that are rapidly becoming more sophisticated.
The context within UK government is covered in more detail at the following page, please visit for further details > Peformance Reporting and Mapping