Niagara Region is working continuously to improve our operations and there are a number of initiatives the Region is engaged in that help measure our progress, year by year, as a provider of programs and services to Niagara residents.
These initiatives include the provincially mandated Municipal Performance Measurement Program, which requires all municipal governments across Ontario to annually publish their progress in meeting selected performance measures. These have been placed within a broad framework that helps us better track our performance as a service provider.
The development of the Region's Performance Measurement Framework supports our ongoing efforts to demonstrate accountability to the public we serve. The specifics of development for a performance measurement framework were outlined in Regional Council's approved report CAO 8-2006.
Regional Council's 2007-2011 Business Plan, currently in development, will be linked to this framework to show the status of progress toward achieving Council's priorities.
The Region is committed to providing the best possible municipal services. Participating in performance measurement initiatives provides both us and you - the residents we serve - one more tool for determining how well we are measuring up and where improvements are needed.
The annual performance benchmarking report was released by the Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative (OMBI) in October 2012.
OMBI is a collaboration of sixteen municipalities with a common goal of fostering a culture of service excellence in municipal government by creating new ways to measure, share and compare performance statistics and operational practices.
The 2011 report focuses on comparative information for 22 direct service areas and 10 additional service areas for which OMBI performance measures have been established. The results in this report allow participating municipalities to compare their performance and use the information to improve their own operations and services.
As service provision differs between municipalities, not all members are able to provide data in all service areas. Niagara's results are included for the services we provide, not necessarily all of the areas.
Ontario's Municipal Benchmarking Initiative works to collect consistent performance information to ensure that the results are as comparable as possible.
Niagara Region is one of 22 Canadian municipalities participating in this initiative. It involves studying a wide range of indicators that are important to the quality of life of residents in any one of these municipalities across the country.
These indicators include everything from safe, clean communities to social welfare and community health. The information gathered through this initiative assists the Region in assessing our efforts to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Niagara they serve.
The reports that have been produced to date seek to identify and promote awareness of issues affecting quality of life in Canadian communities. In this way the opportunity to better target policies and resources aimed at improving quality of life is enhanced.
Quality of Work Life measures guide the Region's efforts to increase employee satisfaction. They are key drivers for ensuring optimal productivity and the best possible service for the residents the Region serves. The measures provide employees with a better understanding of how they can contribute effectively and efficiently to achieve the Region's goals. They also provide a forum for employee feedback.
A Quality of Work Life Survey is conducted every three years at the Region and is used to identify trends and areas in the workplace requiring improvement.
Niagara's financial health can be measured, in part, by the level of taxation on residents and businesses, and by how competitive taxes are compared to other areas of the country.
This type of information is tracked through the Region's financial systems and through the annual BMA Tax Competitiveness Study conducted on Ontario municipalities each year.