The Alberta Municipal Benchmarking Initiative (AMBI) is a collaboration of 10 cities and towns in Alberta, including City of Medicine Hat, to develop and build upon a framework for an ongoing benchmarking process.
The first AMBI report, which focused on drinking water, was released Nov. 16, 2015. The participating municipalities are finalizing the data collection and analysis of additional service areas and will release reports as they are finalized.
What is benchmarking
A benchmark is an established point of reference against which things can be measured and compared. In this case, the benchmark is municipal service delivery metrics over time. The information sets the stage for each municipality to identify trends, establish priorities, and effective positive change in the delivery of services to their residents.
- Benchmarking is a sound business practice often used by governments and private sector
- It assists municipalities in sharing knowledge and best practices, and builds awareness of the value of collaboration
- It identifies opportunities to improve service delivery and cost savings
- It helps to align service requirements with budget
- It encourages a culture of continuous improvement
- It demonstrates transparency and accountability and value for money
Who is participating
Participating municipalities include Airdrie, Banff, Beaumont, Canmore, Cochrane, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Okotoks and Wetaskiwin.
The program began in November 2012 with a grant from Municipal Affairs’ Regional Collaboration Program. The grant was used to engage a consultant for initial data collection from 2009 to 2012, comparative analysis and reporting. Participating municipalities in phase two updated the data from 2012 to 2014. Other service areas include wastewater, snow and ice management, parks provision, solid waste and roads.
Using the data
While each community in Alberta is unique and faces local factors that impact their service delivery, such as population growth, commercial/residential mix, and geography, in general, benchmarking assists elected officials, administration and residents to understand how their municipality is performing over time.
The next steps are for each participating municipality to review results with managers and employees who are experts in the measurement areas.