Performance Management System Improves Service Delivery in Kisumu

Mar 9, 2017

Nyamasaria market

The County Government of Kisumu has installed shaded market stalls at the Nyamasaria market providing the much-needed shelter from adverse weather conditions to vendors and customers. The market vendors can now trade without worrying about their produce or wares being damaged by the hot sun or the anticipated rains. Besides providing shelter, the shaded stalls have also improved the order within the market area. In addition, sanitation within the market has also been enhanced with construction of public toilets, infrastructure which was not available for market-goers at the busy market.

It is Friday, a market day and business is booming as vendors mostly women, go about their activities without worrying about the scorching sun which has intensified across the country in the recent months. The improved business conditions at Nyamasaria market have been replicated across all the thirty-five wards of Kisumu County, now come rain or shine market activities go on uninterrupted unlike in the past.

This is just one example of how the Performance Management System (PMS) supported by UNDP Kenya Devolution project is transforming everyday lives of ordinary people at county level. The computerized real-time target monitor has made construction of the shaded stalls in markets across Kisumu County a reality, adding value to the efforts of small scale traders within the county.

“This is one of the key projects we have had as a County Government. We wanted a tool that can measure our output and the ePerform Performance management application has enabled us to asses our performance against set targets and note the gaps, correcting them in real time,” said Kisumu County Secretary, Mr. Humphrey Nakitari.

The ePerform system provides for a seamless integration between organizational and individual performance plans, therefore simplifying performance planning, measurement and reporting processes.

With ePerform, Kisumu County has been able to prioritize its projects and align them with the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) and the needs of citizens. From the CIDPs the Annual Development Plans are derived with targets which are monitored and evaluated using the Performance Management System (PMS). Targets are further assigned to county staff who sign performance contracts of what they need to achieve and evaluated at the end of the year, thus immensely enhancing accountability among county employees in meeting their deliverables. As the resource targets are tied to funds availability therefore ensuring there is no over expenditure or mismanagement of projects.

Before the PMS, projects were not aligned to any development plan and were done haphazardly based on what individuals within the then municipal council thought were priority. Funds allocation was also not guided by any input and thus some departments overspend their budget allocation.

“We have been doing performance contracting from when we formed the County Government in 2013, however then it was in partnership with the directorate of performance contracting. The difference with what we had then and ePerform is that, we now have real – time reporting, that we can review and monitor on the dashboard. In case we are off track in terms of budgeting or prioritizing the needs of the people we are quickly able to see and rectify.” noted Mr. James Oronge, Kisumu County performance contracting coordinator.

Mr. Oronge adds that from the 2015/2016 county evaluation report, they have deduced that it is not necessarily the sectors with bigger budgets but those with the most practical and innovative projects, that have so far rated highly on ePerform.

“With performance contracting, every day we work towards a goal knowing that it will be evaluated. That is how we were able to turn around the market shades in less than a year, we had targets to meet and resources were allocated, hence we had to ensure that we deliver the shades to the citizens. Prior to this, the vendors used to suffer a lot especially during the rainy season and very hot weather, which also used to keep customers away, we are happy that the PMS system has enabled us to prioritize the needs of our small scale business owners and their customers. We are also confident that PMS will be sustainable, seeing that we have goodwill from the top leadership of the County. Though the cost of running the system which is also key in sustainability of accountability and service delivery may be a challenge. This is where we will need further support from organizations such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Kenya”, noted Mr. Simon Tilla, acting County Commerce director, Kisumu County.

The County heads were speaking during the official handing over ceremony of the Performance Management System ePerform – to the County Government of Kisumu by the system developers PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Kisumu, on 24 February, 2017.

To set up the system for Kisumu County, PwC worked closely with the County executives and department directors by first identifying projects and programmes for each department based on the vision and values each sector had outlined, guided by the needs and demands of citizen within the county. These projects and programmes were then used to develop performance contracts for County staff by setting targets to show evidence of the identified projects.

PwC also helped the County to set up a team of internal evaluators known as the Service Delivery Unit (SDU) to help monitor progress and delivery of the various projects. Since June 2015, together with the SDU, PwC handled the evaluation of performance (on a quarterly basis) as independent external experts, by verifying the Portfolio of Evidence (PoE) - of the different County departments -presented to them by the County Service Delivery Unit.

The independent external experts’ evaluation report would be based on measuring of performance by the different departments against indicators agreed upon within the Key Performance Areas (KPAs) in the performance contract.

“Even as we hand over the running of this system to the County, we want to emphasize that it is not the system structure itself that will better the lives of citizens, but the value of content from the Key Performance Areas (KPAs) that will be generated by the officials running the County. The content keyed into the system has to be credible, this will then translate to accurate evaluation,” remarked PwC manager, advisory, Mr. Jeremiah Nyambane.

Despite the improvement in service delivery due to the eagerness of departments to do well on their scores, concerns over the validity of some of the activities registered in the system were raised.

The demonstration of a Portfolio of Evidence (PoE) – for example stating the number of meetings and presenting the minutes generated does not necessarily translate to impact on the ground,” cited one of the county officers present. “Moving forward, we need to come up with a mechanism where before a department or officer is rated, the true picture on the ground is verified. Perhaps the monitoring and evaluation unit working in tandem with the Service Delivery Unit (SDU) can come up with a structure to evaluate impact on the ground,” emphasized the officer. “The scores on the indicators will only come alive when backed up by views from the people we serve. That way we can add value to the system.”

Kisumu County Government is the first county to publicly sign Performance Contracts in August 2014. The signing of the contracts was preceded by support from UNDP and the Ministry of Devolution and Planning where 54 Senior County Government Officials were trained and equipped with knowledge and skills on performance management, monitoring and evaluation of results.

In support of devolved governance objective of bringing access to services closer to the people, UNDP with funding from development partners: DfID, USAID, Sweden and Norway; has so far facilitated Performance Management Systems that are enhancing efficiency and accountability in five counties of Bungoma, Kilifi, Kisumu, Nyeri and Turkana.