Governance Issue Identified
Can The Care Trust (TCT) quantify its governance initiatives and standards to measure performance against the wider industry as well as against its previous performance and to ensure ongoing high standards and continual improvement?
In an era of data analytics, TCT is increasingly aware of the need to measure or quantify the implementation of governance policies and standards, focusing on useful and important numbers to demonstrate progress. TCT has an extensive bespoke database, containing ten years of data relating to contributions and payments to Beneficiaries, representing over 25 million transactions that generated fundraising income of approximately €63 million. It also contains data on many other aspects of our operations e.g., Complaints Register. All data is protected by the highest available level of encryption and stored in the cloud. TCT wanted to leverage this data in a practical, dynamic way to provide meaningful reports for stakeholders and to inform future business decisions. While good governance may be based on principles, TCT seeks to continually measure and monitor performance.
Approach and Solution
TCT first applied a quantitative measurement scheme to the implementation of the Governance Code. We mapped each of the core and additional standards in the Charities Regulatory Authority Governance Code to those from the Governance Code for Community, Voluntary & Charitable Organisations. Using a simple 1 – 4 rating scheme, where 4 is excellent and 1 is unacceptable, we scored each of the sub-principles across both Codes. We then used a matrix to provide a scoring for each principle and overall. Although the Codes are principle- based, the matrix allows us to focus on where we can improve and provides a clear dashboard for reporting results.
TCT’s self-assessment gave us an overall rating of 3.5. Although in the ‘Excellent’ category, it demonstrated the need to retain focus on strategic plans and on resourcing the organisation to continue to deliver results.
Once we had established and demonstrated adherence to the CRA Governance Code, we developed this concept of measuring progress further. To do this, we designed a bespoke Microsoft Power BI KPI Dashboard, to allow real-time access to the extensive database, along with clear visualisation of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) central to operations. Such a Dashboard would strengthen strategic focus and assist decision-making, important areas for improvement identified by the Governance Code matrix.
The Care Trust Senior Management Team considered the Vision, Mission and Values of the Company, to agree the quantitative measures most appropriate to determining these elements. Methods of calculating KPI measures must be consistent and clear to ensure usefulness. KPIs include:
- number of Contributors
- average lifetime value of Contributions
- persistency of contributions (average life span of mandate)
- payments to Beneficiaries
- demographics of Contributors: age profile and geographic location
- years of financial statements published on website
- number of policy documents published on website
- number and category of Complaints processed
TCT staff learned to access and study all KPI measures, feeding back questions and suggestions to produce the most meaningful suite of dashboard reports. Now that the project is complete, all reports contain clear and interactive visualisations of KPIs, along with trends, patterns and key metrics.
Achievements and Improvements
TCT’s KPI Dashboards in Power BI allow instant access to ten years of TCT business data for all stakeholders, from staff members to Board Directors. The graphic visualisations of KPI measures are produced from up-to-date data in our system, are available constantly, and are interactive to allow individual users to analyse data in a myriad of ways for individual purposes.
For example, the Dashboards demonstrated the slow, steady increase in the number of Contributors using the website to contribute, or seeking alternative payment methods such as bank cards or ‘tap and go’ technology. This led to TCT trialing handheld technology at various public events and on doorsteps. It also influenced the focus on data encryption and security and shaped the extensive Data Protection Policy on our website.
The Dashboards provide information on trends and patterns that continually inform how TCT monitors and applies governance standards. For instance, we noted a gradual increase in the number of complaints around asking elderly persons to sign up to a recurring bank mandate. This led to the publication and implementation of a Safeguarding Vulnerable Persons Policy.
Peter Drucker said, ‘What we measure, we manage.’ TCT’s KPI Dashboards, with bespoke visualisations for measures around transparency and governance, have allowed the conversion of data into meaningful insights. This ensures that, in operations and governance, The Care Trust retains focus on the highest standards of performance.