Evesham and Pershore Housing Association achieved a three-star rating with excellent prospects for improvement from the Audit Commission in September 2008, in part due to its use of performance management software from Clearview.
Ian Hughes, chief executive, EPHA, said, “Clearview played a significant role in helping Rooftop [EPHA’s parent organisation] to achieve an excellent outcome from the inspection. Not only did it help us to focus our business plan on the design and delivery of excellent services, it also let us demonstrate the plans we had to improve services, showing that we had the capacity and track record for successful project delivery.”
A common problem for many organisations is the difficulty of managing multiple project plans, continuous improvement plans and service plans through unlinked spreadsheets and disparate IT systems, none of which are linked to the corporate plan. A consequence of this is that the production of performance reports is time-consuming and laborious, with the plans often out-of-date by the time they are produced. The introduction of short-notice Audit Commission inspections, which mean that housing associations theoretically need to be in a state of perpetual inspection readiness, compounds the problem.
The answer is to move staff away from using spreadsheets towards an integrated system that has a single performance management framework for managing projects, service plans and performance. By embedding software tools such as Clearview throughout the organisation, housing associations are likely to improve their chances of a successful Audit Commission inspection, as EPHA found out.
Hughes said, “The inspection process was constructive. We were open about our strengths and weaknesses from the start. Because we had used Clearview to create a detailed GAP analysis before the inspection, we could show that there were projects and action plans in place to address these weaknesses, again linked through Clearview, and that a number of these projects had already been completed. This showed evidence of a well thought-out approach to continuous improvement in the organisation.”
Hughes concluded, “It’s our people who deliver excellent performance but Clearview has undoubtedly helped us to make the most of this valuable resource by concentrating effort where it is most needed.”