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The Monitoring of Institutional Performance and KPIs 30 November 2006. Dr Andrew Cubie CBE Chair-elect, CUC. Steering group. Andrew Cubie (chair) Sir Andrew Burns Prof Sir Ivor Crewe (for UUK) David Fletcher Eddie Newcomb (project manager) Ewart Wooldridge (Leadership Foundation)

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The Monitoring of Institutional Performance and KPIs30 November 2006

Dr Andrew Cubie CBE

Chair-elect, CUC

steering group
Steering group

Andrew Cubie (chair)

Sir Andrew Burns

Prof Sir Ivor Crewe (for UUK)

David Fletcher

Eddie Newcomb (project manager)

Ewart Wooldridge (Leadership Foundation)

Tom Ingram (ex CEO of AGB in USA)

Sally Neocosmos (for AHUA)

Dick Coldwell (HEFCE Board member)

Greg Wade (UUK)

Jim Port (J M Consulting)

the kpis project

The Governance Code of Practice includes the proposition that each Institution should adopt a Statement of Primary Responsibilities which directs the Governing Body:-

1. To approve the mission and strategic vision of the institution, long term academic and business plans and KPIs, and to ensure these meet the interests of stakeholders.

the kpis project4

2. To ensure processes are in place to monitor and evaluate the performance and effectiveness of the Institution, against the plans and approved KPIs, which should be, where possible and appropriate, benchmarked against other comparable institutions.

the kpis project5
The KPIs Project

CUC survey in 2006 – some governing bodies using KPIs, many would like guidance

Steering group, HEFCE funding obtained and J M Consulting commissioned

Remit to develop and issue guidance that will help Governing Bodies to fulfil this responsibility

  • Not prescriptive
  • A menu of KPIs
  • Based on international comparison
approach in the guide
Approach in the Guide
  • Governors have responsibility at a strategic level for all activities
  • They cannot and should not
    • Monitor large volumes of paper
    • Engage in operational detail
    • Usurp the role of senior management
  • Governors need high-level KPIs that cover all strategic areas;

may not come from existing operational systems or data; and

can be assimilated and reviewed with minimal volumes of paper.

  • They also need a monitoring framework that permits them to:
    • Quickly gain an overview of performance
    • Interrogate and drill down where appropriate
    • Highlight areas that need more attention
the monitoring framework
The Monitoring Framework
  • 10 high-level KPIs cover all areas of institutional performance
  • Each is represented by a traffic-light assessment and this is shown on one page
  • Each of the ten is built up using a range of supporting assessment materials:
    • Self-assessment questions
    • Supporting KPIs
    • Other sources as appropriate

4. Governors only need to see one page, but can have back-up schedules covering some or all of the ten areas as appropriate

5. They also need a monitoring framework that permits them to:

    • Quickly gain an overview of performance
    • Interrogate and drill down where appropriate
    • Highlight areas that need more attention
the high level kpis
The High Level KPIs

Top-level summary indicators (“super KPIs”)

1 Institutional sustainability

2 Academic profile and market position

Top-level indicators of institutional health

3 The student experience and teaching and learning

4 Research

5 Knowledge Transfer and relationships

6 Financial health

7 Estates and infrastructure

8 Staff and Human Resource Development

9 Governance, leadership and management

10 Institutional projects


The Monitoring of Institutional Performance and KPIsThe CUC Guide30 November 2006

Jim Port

JM Consulting

philosophy and approach
Philosophy and approach
  • Each governing body has to decide its own arrangements
  • Governors work in partnership with the Vice-Chancellor and senior management
  • The guide illustrates good practice, but each institution may choose different methods, provided they achieve the aims in the Code
contents of the guide
Contents of the guide
  • Summary

describes the logic of the process and the suggested

monitoring framework at a high level

  • Review of practice in the sector and elsewhere

Balanced scorecard, EFQM, Dashboards etc

Results of CUC survey of use of KPIs

PIs in use in higher education

3. The supporting materials for each high level KPI


Self-assessment questions

Supporting KPIs and other sources of information

4. (Appendix) Full list of supporting KPIs with definitions etc

challenges for the project
Challenges for the project
  • Governors often face too much paper and too many pressing matters at meetings

So, operational detail can take over and inhibit consideration of the critical strategic issues

  • Some of the most critical issues are qualitative and difficult to measure, but there are lots of data and KPIs in other areas (estates, finance etc)

So, the attention given to different areas becomes unbalanced

  • The management team are usually very competent and close to the details
    • how can governors add value?
    • what questions should they ask?
    • how will they know if there is a problem?
  • What can the guide do to help?
what can the guide do to help
What can the guide do to help?

NOT prescribe a standard set of KPIs, for all HEIs

Instead, the guide answers 4 questions:

  • What do governors need to monitor?

(the ten high-level KPIs – or similar designed for each institution)

2. What are the key issues in each high-level KPI?

(the self-assessment questions)

3. How can progress/status be assessed for each KPI?

(through the supporting KPIs, and answers to the questions)

  • How can this be presented to governors?

(on one page, using the traffic-light system)

HEIs can choose different answers – but they do need to address the questions

what are the issues in each kpi self assessment questions
What are the issues in each KPI?Self assessment questions

(e.g High-level KPI 1: Sustainability)

1.1 Does the mission and academic positioning of the institution make sense as a business and academic proposition?

1.2 Are we performing as well as we should in the main academic and student- related activities which are important to our mission and our markets?

1.3 Are we generating enough cash to allow strategic investments and to manage risk and uncertainty?

1.4 Is our infrastructure fit for purpose and generating a realistic return on past investment?


5.4 Which are our ten most important relationships in our region and what are we doing to develop and maintain them?

( High-level KPI 5: Knowledge transfer and relationships)

8.2 Are we satisfied with the quality of appointments made to senior positions and the way these posts are managed and appraised? (High-level KPI 8: Staff and HRD)

how can progress be measured the supporting or lower level kpis
How can progress be measured?The supporting or lower-level KPIs

e.g. for High-level KPI 1: Sustainability

  • Return on assets (CE/CP ratio)
  • Annual spend on infrastructure compared to agreed annual requirement
  • Income growth, diversity and security
  • Student demand, achievement and satisfaction


10. Evidence of academic distinctiveness (supports academic profile)

  • Staff scholarly activity (supports student experience)
  • Cash generated (supports financial health)
  • Remuneration committee reports (support leadership etc)

Note these are all illustrative – full definitions and suggested

ways to use these are provided in the guide

implementation by universities
Implementation by universities
  • Each governing body is free to decide how best to monitor institutional performance – but any institution not wishing to use this approach would need to find and implement an alternative
  • The guide illustrates good practice, but is not prescriptive or mandatory
  • Some members responding to the CUC survey are already using broadly equivalent processes, many are not
  • So what should governing bodies do next?
what to do next
What to do next?
  • Answer the four questions on slide 5
    • What to monitor?
    • What are the issues in each area?
    • How to assess progress/status?
    • How to present it to governors?
  • Each governing body should consider:
    • A timetable and process for monitoring- and resulting action
    • How the assessment capability can be provided
    • How this can fit with existing processes in the institution