What We Do
The City of Newton is committed to delivering public services in the most effective and efficient way possible. We are doing this by measuring our processes and making the responsibility for improving performance a standard of leadership for our managers and staff. We are working to improve in every way we can. Like our neighboring cities (e.g., Somerville, Springfield, Providence), as well as cities geographically distributed throughout the United States (e.g., Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Charlotte, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and St. Louis), we use a data-driven approach and well-established methods for the evaluation, assessment and improvement of people and process effectiveness and efficiency. The standards we seek to achieve are based directly on the needs of the community and are designed to make a material and noticeable difference in the experience our residents have when interacting with City Hall. The success of these improvement efforts rests on building a leadership culture committed to being responsible for performance, and equipped with knowledge and tools to assist and guide their efforts.
Our CitiStat approach has several goals:
- Improve performance of City services
- Develop a leadership culture characterized by commitment to and responsibility for improving
- Provide critical performance information to our Mayor, Executive Team, Department Heads, and other interested parties
- Provide performance information to the public about all City Departments in their delivery of services
Through this process, the CitiStat team works throughout the City at Departmental and higher levels to
- Lead the improvement of our processes
- Assist in the development of departmental goals and objectives and related performance measures and targets
- Assist in the collection of data for maintenance of the CitiStat website tools
- Assist in the analysis of performance
How We Do It
Our CitiStat approach focuses on all of the components of performance management: process improvement, leadership development, and communication management.
Performance and Process Improvement
Our CitiStat team conducts regular meetings with all departments to review actual performance against targets which have been established by function and process. These performance metrics are consistent with each department's mission and strategic goals/objectives. We meet with departments individually as well as with clusters of similar departments.
Regular meetings and metrics serve to identify opportunities for improvement. The CitiStat team works with each department to make noticeable improvement by mapping and redesigning their processes. We also assist departments with their data collection and evaluation of results.
Every employee has an opportunity to lead improvement efforts. Our CitiStat team encourages them to set stretch goals, identify opportunities for improvements and implement change. We teach them the tools they need and inspire them to play a leadership role in the work they do. In addition, we work directly with department managers and supervisors, providing them with the skills they need to instill a culture of excellence throughout their organizations. In many instances, these managers have had little or no leadership training or encouragement to set lofty goals and achieve them. Performance management work supports their potential transformation from ordinary managers into superior leaders.
Communication is at the heart of every performance management effort. We improve communication among and within departments through regular meetings about operational issues as well as performance improvement opportunities. These meetings directly impact behavior and results – and therefore, performance - by breaking down barriers that keep people from working together; improving cooperation, collaboration, and the quality of discussion; and creating well-defined action plans that may become part of the outcomes.
We also work to improve the communication about performance between the City and its residents. Information about our work, our performance goals and achievements are posted on our website and we invite your comments. Our goal in communicating directly with the public is to ensure that we are working on the right issues and delivering on our commitment to excellence.