Purpose of this Blog

ARPA is committed to developing an assessment framework and system to help define, monitor and recognize outstanding performance in recreation, parks, arts, culture and community-building organizations and agencies. The development process began in May 2010 and will be complete in November 2011. This blog is intended to keep stakeholders informed and to facilitate their input and advice. If you are visiting the blog for the first time, you might be interested in starting with the initial November 2010 posts:

- Why we need this initiative?
- The Process of Creating a Service Excellence Program
- We've Reviewed Over 200 Related Assessment Tools
- The Modules and Core Organizational Competencies.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Experts are Speaking

Five expert panels have been working diligently to critique and enhance the Service Excellence Framework: one panel for each framework module (leadership/management, community building, programs, facilities and parks). 147 practitioners were invited to participate on the panels and two surveys have been completed to date. 111 responded to the round one survey (75%); 100 returned round two (70%). There were 70 participants out of 137 for a 52% response rate for Round 3. What have we learned?

  • Panel members like the assessment tool, particularly the layered structure whereby each core organizational competency is supported by practice guidelines, and each practice guideline is illustrated with a number of quality indicators

  • While the majority appreciate the great amount of detail contained in the first draft, many are asking for simplification

  • The larger communities and organizations are the most supportive, with smaller ones often feeling overwhelmed by both scope and detail. We will likely have to craft a special version for smaller organizations.

  • Panel members are still discussing the rating scale to be used, but we are tending towards keeping a version of the 7-point scale that was originally suggested (7 - excellent, 6 - very good, etc.).

  • We will be reviewing the entire framework with the intent of improving clarity and removing duplication.

Several New Core Competencies have been suggested

  • Both the Leadership/Management Panel and the Facilities Panel have asked for more emphasis on internal customer service and communication (between departments)

  • The Community Building Panel is suggesting restructuring the framework to further emphasize community engagement and empowerment, community governance, and risk identification/mitigation

  • The Program Panel has asked for a new competency based on the assessment and evaluation of individual programs or services, and more emphasis on the delivery of program benefits

  • The Facilities Panel has also asked for increased emphasis on sustainability, and

  • The Parks Panel has suggested removing the nursery/greenhouse competency and building in urban foresty, environmental practices and customer service/satisfaction.

Overall Ratings of Practice Guidelines and Related Quality Indicators High

In general, practice guidelines in all modules have been well endorsed with 85-90% of panelists rating them good, very good or excellent on the 7-point scale offered. Each practice guideline is accompanied by several quality indicators; these have received similar high levels of endorsement (80-90% good, very good or excellent).

Our challenge now is to listen carefully to the MANY suggestions made and begin to craft an even better and less intimidaing version of the Service Excellence Framework.

Thank You

Most important, the Service Excellence Advisory Team is sincere in its appreciation of the effort that so many have invested to get us on the right track, add quality and enhance utility of the Framework. The great support we have experienced illustrates the importance of this initiative - and getting it right!