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Ten Performance Management Principles

These principles have been developed to improve understanding of NHSScotland's approach to performance management in the context of significant change in recent years. The principles are prefaced by sound accountability.


NHSScotland's Performance Management Framework Supports delivery of the Scottish Government's outcomes and Health and Social Care Directorates strategic objectives.

Local Delivery Plans set out some of the key improvements NHS Boards will deliver to contribute towards the delivery of the Scottish Government's outcomes.


Performance measures demonstrate the progress towards delivering our strategy for improving the quality of patient care.

Delivery of standards and performance measures give Ministers, staff and the public the confidence that we are making progress in implementing our key strategies for NHSScotland and improving the quality of patient care


Performance measures help deliver a wider system aim, and the impact on the whole system must be considered

Performance measures are not an end in themselves but are a proxy measure for a wider system change.


Design the system, deliver the performance.

The delivery of standards should be the consequence of well-designed systems of care which take account best evidence and local needs. Well-designed systems of care ensure that individual patients are not disadvantaged to ensure compliance with standards.


Clinical  decision making in the interest of the patient is always more important than unequivocal delivery of performance measures.

Patients are always diagnosed and treated according to their clinical need.


Local flexibility in delivery.

Through the Local Delivery Planning process, Scottish Government and NHS Boards will consider local circumstances (such as Community Planning Partnership priorities, baseline performance, service models, workforce, risk, governance, the needs of local people) in defining performance measures, performance management, improvement support and delivery.


Performance measures should support diversity and reduce inequalities.

The Scottish Government and NHS Boards in defining, performance managing, and delivering standards always ensure that performance measures do not result in inequity in the quality of service provided for any patient.


Staff should be engaged in performance measurement setting and delivery.

Performance measures can help staff realise improvements in care and contribute to system wide priorities. Staff should be involved in local delivery planning and review of performance, including lessons learned and encouraged to actively identify and implement improvements.


Best practice in Performance Management and Delivery is shared.

NHS Boards have their own individual performance management systems, building on national requirements. There is scope to share best practice in performance management and delivery and to share best practice in Board’s contributions to Single Outcome Agreements with their planning partners.


Data and measurement are key aspects of Performance Management.

Performance measures are specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and timebound. Performance measures are short to medium term outcomes, clearly identifying key contributions that NHS Boards make. We always work to recognise any data quality issues that may arise with performance measures and will ensure a wider understanding of the nature and uses of data and information within delivery.