Best practices and more from the UAE Government
Governments from all over the globe are pressured to provide higher added value, better public services, improved transparency and accountability towards their citizens. The financial crisis of 2007 – 2008, which has forced organizations to look for more efficient means to meet their objectives, the increased expectations of citizens – as currently, public services are expected to provide the same experience as private companies and the raise of new governance models that embrace technology and innovation, are but a few of the factors that could have facilitated this shift.
The Middle East is one region in particular that in the recent years, has distinguished itself through an increased interest towards improving public sector performance. Some challenges observed by The KPI Institute in the public sector related to performance management are:
- Lack of connection between strategic objectives and monitored KPIs;
- Misalignment between governmental agencies or departments within the same agency;
- Difficulties in collecting and managing data in an efficient manner;
- Difficulties in measuring productivity;
- Challenges associated with measuring and improving employee performance;
- Low awareness in regards to performance management good practices.
However, many of these challenges seem to slowly fade away, as more and more governments have started to invest in developing a sustainable performance management framework. An example of good practice is the United Arab Emirates Government and its long term strategy released in 2010, entitled Vision 2021.
In the process of strategy formulation, it is important to identify factors that bring value or strong points for the organization, in order to create a strategy that will explore these value drivers .
To achieve its vision: ”to be among the best countries in the world by 2021”, the UAE Government, has identified the following enablers:
- Skilled Human Capital
- Customer-Centric Service
- Efficient Financial Management
- Good Institutional Governance
- Dynamic Government Networks
- Effective Legislative Process and Integrated Policy-Making
- Effective Government Communication
Future development of the following 7 strategic pillars should be done by leveraging the value drivers mentioned above.
- Cohesive Society and Preserved Identity
- First-Rate Education System
- World-Class Healthcare
- Competitive Knowledge Economy
- Safe Public
- Fair Judiciary
- Sustainable Environment and Infrastructure
- Strong Global Standing
Each strategic goal or pillar has its own innate Key Performance Indicators that will provide clarity on the UAE Government’s progress towards meeting its targets. Performance scorecards are available online, on a portal dedicated to the national strategy, as can be seen in the image below:
The scorecard depicts both the target and the actual result for the KPI, but also the data source for each figure, to outline reliability of data.
Each pillar has between 5 and 12 KPIs associated with it, and various types of KPIs are used from complex indexes like # Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI), to process KPIs like # Average response time to emergencies, # Time to obtain a loan / house to simple measurements like # Olympic medals won.
Lessons to be learned
- The resulting strategy, whether at the organizational or country level, should enable maximization of value drivers;
- For each strategic objective, KPIs should be identified to keep track of progress against established targets;
- Scorecards are valuable tools that provide structure to a performance management system and facilitate performance monitoring and reporting;
- Transparency and communication between governments and citizens should be enhanced. The UAE’s online platform, dedicated to conveying the national strategy, KPI targets and results is good practice in this sense.
Innovation right at the heart of a strategy plan is another common trend that we frequently notice nowadays. There is an increasing interest in stimulating and managing innovation more effectively, both in private organizations and the public sector. The UAE Government has a National Strategy for Innovation, which at the moment is targeting 7 sectors: renewable energy, transportation, education, health, water, technology and space. The initiatives to support innovation aim at providing supporting laws, institutions and education programs for this topic of interest, encouraging players in the private sector to develop research centers.