Does your city measure up? National Cities Performance Framework update

Thu, 2017-07-27 05:07 -- Doug Peeples

The Cities Performance Framework has been in development for the past six months, and presents itself as a potential catalyst for more considered and impactful investment in our cities and towns. Its scope as both a contextual and performance-based tool is exciting, however maintaining accountability in its use for driving smarter investment decisions will be key.

The coverage of indicators within the framework is comprehensive, and its ongoing updatable platform ensures that amendments can be swiftly made. Combined with the framework’s online presence, the Cities Performance Framework has significant potential.

SCCANZ will continue to represent the smart cities movement in the Framework’s evolution over the coming months, and will be critically analysing its effectiveness in establishing the conditions the government is seeking in the City Deals process. — Adam Beck

In an effort to better understand how Australia's major cities and regions are performing their responsibilities to serve the needs of citizens, the federal government has been collaborating with stakeholders to develop a National Cities Performance Framework. The Framework is intended to be an ongoing resource that measures how well cities are meeting their obligations to citizens and where they could use help and improvement.

It also has another purpose: to shift the focus of federal, state and local policy making to the local level, and with the overall intent to support the government's Smart Cities Plan. And the Framework's continuous city monitoring and assessment is a major component of the government's City Deals  program as well.

An interim report on progress made to date has just been released by the Hon. Angus Taylor MP. The time frame for program development is to have the Framework completed by the end of this year with a formal review that will extend from 2019 through 2020.

The focus for the Framework program has been the 21 largest cities in Australia, Western Sydney and major suburban and regional areas. Those cities and regions are where about 80% of Australians live. Key city performance data on economic, social and other indicators will be collected and made available to the public online through an indicator dashboard, according to an Open Gov article.

Of particular interest, the interim report highlights the "contextual indicators" and "performance indicators" that are the basis of the framework's city performance measurement criteria.

Here are some highlights from the criteria developed so far:

Contextual indicators have been created to assess why cities perform as they do and which policies could lead to a better quality of life a stronger economy. As an example, employment and the percentage of people in the labour force would be a contextual indicator. Others include housing, population and population growth and household income.

Performance indicators are linked to policy development because they will be the basis for future policy decisions or adjustments. There are six primary policy priorities, many of which are interconnected:

  • Jobs and skills
  • Infrastructure and investment
  • Liveability and sustainability
  • Innovation and digital opportunities
  • Housing (including availability and affordability)
  • Governance, planning and regulation

As a continuous process, the Framework is expected to become increasingly valuable and informative over time and more cities could be added in the future.


Editor's note: Click the link to read the complete interim report. If you would like to share your thoughts on the framework, you can do so by clicking on the Feedback Survey link on this page. The public comment period closes August 18, 2017.

Doug Peeples is a writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartcitiesanz on Twitter.