Arapahoe County takes pride not only in being Colorado’s first county, but in delivering a first-rate experience to its residents through performance-driven culture. The County’s vision is to be the “First in Colorado, First in Service. Your County of Choice.” Arapahoe County knew they needed a robust framework to ensure they could deliver on these promises and developed their goals of Service First, Fiscal Responsibility and Quality of Life.
Building a performance management program
In 2009, Arapahoe County launched Align Arapahoe, a program to prioritize and align the County’s goals of Service First, Fiscal Responsibility and Quality of Life with the organization’s day-to-day services and activities. The objective of the program is to assess Arapahoe County’s progress towards achieving these goals.
The creation of Align Arapahoe was a collaborative effort spearheaded by the Board of County Commissioners, involving every department and elected office within the organization.
During this process, operational performance measures were created for each of the three goals to measure progress. For example, putting “Service First” means that Arapahoe County strives to deliver “reliable, timely and accessible county services that ensure a positive customer experience.” So, one of the related performance measures tracks what percentage of services residents can access without having to come into a county building.
To ensure that progress was actively and effectively monitored, the Office of Performance Management (renamed to the Department of Strategy and Performance) was formed in 2012 to act as stewards of Align Arapahoe. The department oversees the development and implementation of performance measurement, process improvement, and strategy efforts within Arapahoe County.
Align Arapahoe’s performance measures are continually reviewed to ensure they still align with the County’s goals of Service First, Fiscal Responsibility and Quality of Life.
The County uses ClearPoint Strategy as a central location to store performance management data for every department and elected office. Individual departments meet on a monthly or quarterly basis to review their internal performance management data to gauge operational trends and identify areas for improvement. With measures aligned to the big-picture goals of Service First, Fiscal Responsibility, and Quality of Life, it’s easy to keep in mind how performance affects outcomes for Arapahoe County’s residents.
In 2018, Arapahoe County worked with ClearPoint to create a public facing dashboard. This interactive website serves to educate the public about Align Arapahoe and to increase transparency of County operations. The website pulls data directly from Arapahoe County’s ClearPoint account, ensuring quick updates for the Arapahoe team, and allows the public to easily view Align Arapahoe performance measures.
A culture of continuous improvement
Thanks to support and collaboration from the elected body and leadership team, departments have embraced a culture of continuous improvement. Performance measures are used for internal operations in each department and activities are more aligned than ever with the organization’s goals of Service First, Fiscal Responsibility and Quality of Life.
Arapahoe County’s website sums up the effect of the Align Arapahoe program: “it has transformed us into a data-driven, transparent organization focused on results… so we can provide the best county government at minimal cost to you both today and in the future.”