Despite the challenges, some local authorities are managing to outperform their peers, achieving better outcomes for less money. To measure this, we developed the IMPOWER INDEX, which helps local authorities understand their performance in a new way.
Other measurement systems are focused either on pure outcomes (which are interesting, but don’t help operationally, and are not linked to investment – for example an academic definition of wellbeing or happiness) or on efficiency (unit costs and spending) in isolation from performance.
Instead, the INDEX defines productivity as outcome value per pound spent. It measures performance against outcomes (per pound invested) through six different lenses: children’s social care; older people; all age disability; health and social care interface; housing and homelessness; and waste and recycling. Each council is scored for productivity through each lens and is ranked accordingly.
We first shared IMPOWER’s Top 10 list of the most productive councils in December 2017. Councils in this list had achieved greater than average outcomes from a less than average spend per head. The list revealed an interesting mix of different types of authority from different parts of the country and demonstrated that it is possible to be the best even if demographics are against you.
Since then, we have further refined some of the outcomes measures for each of the six lenses, taking into account dataset availability and discussions with the leadership teams of more than 40 councils.
Drawing on 30 publicly available datasets, the INDEX ranks 150 councils using 49 outcome indicators.
- number of child protection plans lasting over one year • number and proportion of carers who are neglecting themselves
- number and proportion of people with disabilities who do not have a job
- number of unplanned hospitalisations for people with conditions that could have been treated in their own home
- number of fly tipping incidents
The INDEX enables us to answer, pound for pound, which councils are spending their money most effectively and getting the best outcomes for citizens.