Qualitative & quantitative performance measures

PGPA Rule section 16EA(d)

The performance measures meet this requirement where reasonably practicable, comprise a mix of qualitative and quantitative measures.

An entity’s performance measures must, where reasonably practicable, comprise a mix of qualitative and quantitative performance measures.

In many cases it is expected that an entity will have both quantitative and qualitative performance measures to capture the multiple dimensions of the entity’s performance.

However, it may not always be ‘reasonably practicable’ for the entity to have qualitative measures in the context of the entity’s purposes or key activities. For example, in the early stages of the implementation of a program or activity, it may be appropriate for an entity to have solely quantitative performance measures, usually expressed as outputs. As implementation progresses, it could be expected that qualitative measures will be gradually developed. 

For a key activity focused solely on policy development, deciding on the appropriate mix of quantitative and qualitative performance measures that are ‘reasonably practicable’ should consider factors such as the cost of data collection, the value of the data to the entity and the needs of stakeholders.

For an entity with purposes relating to policing and national security, quantitative measures that measure outputs such as ‘percentage of investigations that result in a prosecution or intelligence referral outcome’ may be appropriate. To provide a more complete picture of performance, these quantitative measures could be supplemented with qualitative measures such as ‘level of community confidence in the contribution of the entity to law enforcement and security’.

In the case of service delivery functions, quantitative performance measures may be strengthened through qualitative performance measures. For example, while the speed of processing claims may be an important quantitative measure of performance, the value of this information would be strengthened by combining it with a qualitative performance measure. This may include the quality of decision-making based on the results of a survey of key stakeholders, and measures that assess the efficiency of claims processing.

The following examples include a mix of qualitative and quantitative measures to assist the reader in gaining a more complete understanding of an entity’s performance.


Examples – Mix of quantitative and qualitative performance measures

The Old Parliament House 2022-23 Corporate Plan (p 13) includes a mix of quantitative and qualitative performance measures to measure performance. For Strategic Priority 1, quantitative measures are used to report on the number of visitors (both onsite and to the entity’s website) and the number of people participating in programs, and a qualitative measure is used to measure the quality of service (visitor satisfaction).

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The Department of Veterans’ Affairs 2022-23 Corporate Plan (p 19) includes a mix of quantitative and qualitative performance measures to measure performance. Quantitative measures are used to report on service delivery (for example, the timeliness and quality of service delivery), and a qualitative measure is used to measure the quality of service (customer satisfaction with their service delivery experience).

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