Benchmarking and peer review is a key part of the Tenant Services Authority’s model of co-regulation and that makes it a good time for all of those involved in performance comparisons to be reviewing their performance indicators.
We have initiated a project with our benchmarking groups and other small associations to agree a core set of standard performance definitions. We intend to move to the new definitions by April 2010 and in future each member will be able to compare its own performance not just within its own group but against a much broader dataset.
We developed our benchmarking system in 2006 with members of the g320 group in London to provide a cost-effective benchmarking system designed specifically to meet the needs of small organisations. Members of bm320 access our secure website to maintain and share comparative data, and to run reports which provide a focus and structure for their quarterly meetings. Subsequently, we have established a benchmarking club among a group of small associations in the South West of England and we are now working with around 20 small organisations in total. We are currently in discussions with a number of other associations which have expressed an interest in joining one of these two groups or establishing an entirely new group. We are also talking to some existing benchmarking groups about how we might enhance the value of their performance comparison activities.
Feedback from our members has been excellent, and the member organisations clearly value the opportunity to meet and network with colleagues from similar organisations, share ideas and learn from each other. They also clearly value the flexibility in our web-based facilitated approach and the choices they are able to exercise in shaping their own identities as benchmarking groups. We feel the time is right for us to further improve what we do for existing members and create an enhanced benchmarking offer that is compelling to most, if not all, small housing associations.