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The communication processes applied during the implementation of the Balance Scorecard performance management system within a Metropolitan Police Department located in the Western Cape
Gillis (2004:1) stated in her publication in Communication World that “employees are the lifeblood of an organisation.” Local governments, both in South Africa and abroad, are increasingly faced with the need to change for a number of reasons, one of which is to change so as to become more responsive and improve performance. As local government devises means to attain the objectives of performance management, how does it ensure that performance management objectives are mainstreamed within the organisation? Academic writers agree that staff resistances are counterproductive to the efforts made by any municipality to introduce performance management systems with the aim of bringing about effective and efficient service to its constituents. The key to avoiding staff resistances, which all organisations have to take account of, is communicating with employees. The writer suggests that this process is necessary and unavoidable, yet it is almost always ignored. The main aim of this study was to review the communication practices underpinning the Balance Scorecard (BSC) performance management system within the Cape Town Metropolitan Police Department (CTMPD). Tentative discussions with the metropolitan police department’s middle and low level managers indicated little understanding of how the BSC fits into the CTMPD’s accountability measures. At regular senior management meetings, called the Operational Management Forum (OMF), in 2011, the researcher learnt from operational directors and managers that they were not properly consulted with regard to the BSC system and that the implementation of the system was not adequately communicated. Managers claimed that only a short presentation was given in 2009 and it was then expected that middle managers would achieve the desired results and attain objectives towards which they had very little input. They have since become disillusioned and have resorted to focussing solely on ensuring that they spend their budgets with little understanding that there is more to the BSC than financial measurements. Thus the research questions were posed: why was performance management introduced within the CTMPD and what guidelines can be provided to improve how performance management is communicated to managers? A questionnaire was used to gain insight into this; it was administered to middle management within the CTMPD. The main findings of the research were that the respondents have an understanding of performance management. Another finding was that the majority of the respondents were not trained in the BSC performance management system. The researcher thus recommended that the safety and security training college be tasked to develop a training workshop, with the help of the support services manager. In addition, the researcher also recommended that the support services division ensures that candidates eligible for middle management positions be tested on their core communication skills and understanding of performance management principles prior to appointment.