Management Systems and Information
In order to be aware of how you are performing as an organisation you will need information on your progress on targets around quality and impact such as the number of users. You will also need information on performance that is essential to the organisation’s survival such as the amount of cash in the bank and the amount of expenditure pending.
This type of information is known as Management Information and the way it is collected and communicated is your Management Information System.
Having a Management Information System in place, even if it’s a simple one, is essential. It provides the information the management team need to Plan, Act, and Evaluate the operations of the organisation. Only by proactively engaging in understand how the organisation is performing can a management group fulfil its responsibility to make decisions about the delivery of services so as to best advance its aims and deliver the right kind of service to its customers and beneficiaries.
There are a range of quality assurance frameworks for community organisations that may be of use in developing effective management systems. Examples of some suited to small community organisations include VISIBLE and PQASSO.
Larger enterprises seeking to win contracts may find international quality standards more appropriate such as ISO 9001
Within a community library management information may include:
• Number of book issues
• Number of users
• Number of computer users
• Number of room bookings
• Number of people
• Busy and quite times
• Financial papers for the board should be presented in a clear format so that trustees/directors can easily understand performance and trends. Use charts, but make sure they are clear and not confusing.
• Financial information should include cashflow but also a summary of debtors, creditors and reserves.
• Always alert the board if there have been any difficulties in the payment of PAYE or other significant creditors.
• Trustees and managers need to be aware of actual or potential cashflow issues.
• Clarity between restricted and unrestricted income and expenditure
• Papers should be circulated in advance.
• The basis for reports should be clear. Cashflow uses receipts and payments whilst income & expenditure reports use an accruals basis. Both are important, but not mixing the two.
• Reports should include a comparison with a budget and where appropriate, the previous year.