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E. Defining Management Information Outputs: Considerations

Management Information Outputs are a series of questions that a Management Information system must address. Example questions could include:

  • How many unique client outcomes are being achieved?
  • Which service providers are contributing to client outcomes?
  • How many clients are at each journey stage?
  • How effective are referral processes?
  • Are employers needs being met? Are people moving to the right jobs for them?
  • How many are at risk of becoming inactive?

By defining and more importantly agreeing Management Information Outputs, it becomes possible to determine management information inputs (the constituent data fields) that need to be captured across the local area. Management Information Outputs in this sense create the rationale for a Management Information system and also provide the basis for its design. It is possible and desirable to use an existing Common Dataset, see D: Common Dataset and Definitions to help inform the Management Information Outputs discussion.

The exercise of defining and agreeing Management Information Outputs must involve all those with a stake in making this initiative a success: employability providers, funders and other partners. This type of involvement will break down barriers in terms of organisation culture, provider motivation and partner data sharing and ensure that objectives are aligned and priorities understood e.g. "we can't achieve this output now but we will look to do so in future".

Structured stakeholder workshops are a particularly effective means of defining and agreeing Management Information Outputs. These involve participants from a range of backgrounds working together (and leaving their organisational focus behind for a few hours). It also involves participants focusing on information, its value and purpose and the issues that exist in capturing and defining it. This type of session runs best with an element of external facilitation and consultation. Depending on the progress made more than one session may be required, to increase coverage or drill down further in some areas. An estimate for external input into this type of session with an output report is in the region of £2-3k per session.

Without this type of workshop or any form of joint consensus around Management Information outputs, the project will in all likelihood fail. In this environment it is commonplace for some individuals to push their own personal agenda (including numerous discussions that fail to build consensus and focus prematurely on technologies) whilst others remain disinterested or disenfranchised.

We involved key partners in our MI Outputs session. By the end of the day we had a real sense of purpose and a basis to move forward.

Respondent, Area E