Part 3: The performance story

Statements of intent: Examples of reporting practice.

Performance reports should provide a clear picture of what the entity is trying to achieve (its intended outcomes) and how it believes it contributes to them (its outputs). Also, the report should tell a story about the services the entity delivers, why it delivers them, and what difference it intends to make to the community or to society. The emphasis and balance of the report content should faithfully reflect the entity’s performance management objectives, priorities, and significant achievements.

A useful performance story is one that provides a concise and balanced picture of performance that emphasises matters according to their significance. It should present and clearly articulate the entity’s logic or “theory” behind why it does what it does, focusing on outcomes, impacts, and outputs (that is, how cause-and-effect assumptions factor into the entity’s business planning). The performance story, and its framework, should help enable entities and their stakeholders assess which actions work well and which do not work well. In this way, performance reports help intervention logic to be continually evaluated and, accordingly, assist in the drive towards providing the most cost-effective output mix.

Specifically, a good performance story within a forecast performance report will:

  • include a discussion of the entity’s strategic context – Part 4;
  • specify intended outcomes and impacts, including their interrelationships at various levels, if applicable – Part 5;
  • identify the main measures (for impacts and outcomes) to gauge the entity’s effect or influence (with targets attached) – Part 6;
  • show the relationships between outputs, impacts, and outcomes – Part 7;
  • group outputs into useful output classes – Part 8; and
  • identify the measures that will show how well the entity delivers its outputs (with targets attached) – Part 9.
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