Once the governing body has agreed the institution's strategic plan, the responsibilities of governors moves to ensuring the plan is successfully delivered and any planned outcomes achieved. Responsibility for implemeting the strategic plan, and achieving the agreed outcomes, lies with the executive.
To fulfil its responsibilites the governing body needs to ensure it has the means to effectively montor the implementation of the strategic plan, and assess whether progress is being made towards achieving the planned outcomes. For most institutions this has meant the adoption of a system of key performance indicators (KPIs). Governing bodies may also receive an annual report and update from the executive summarising the actions taken during the year to implement the strategic plan, and evidencing progress towards meeting the planned outcomes.
Reflecting the complexity and scope of most institutions, KPIs are normally introduce to cover a range of activities, including, for example, student recruitment, the student experience, research activity, staff and finance. The desire to looks at different aspects of the institution in order to assess performance has lead to the use of a 'balanced' scorecard or dashboard to assess the institution's performance.
Agreeing appropriate KPIs, including deciding whether they should be qualitative or quantitative measures, establishing baselines, agreeing targets, together with the frequency of monitoring the individual indicators are all part of establing an institution's Performacnce Management System.
For further information on KPIs consult Governors' briefing note No.11: monitoring performance.
An important source of information on the use of key performance indicators (KPIs) is Monitoring of Institutional Performance and the Use of Key Performance Indicators.
More recently the question of institutional sustainability has received greater attention. The Financial Sustainability Strategy Group has been leading in this area and has recently issued information for governing bodies about 'Assessing institutional sustainability'.
Based in the USA, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges offers information on 'Dashboards for Boards'.
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