Developing key performance indicators


This guidance has been produced to support Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) and their teams with using the performance standards to help them develop key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the impact of their activities and to support them in setting targets and helping them to baseline their performance. 

The guidance covers: 

  • Why have KPIs?
  • How to develop KPIs 

Why have KPIs?

A KPI is a quantifiable measure that can be used to demonstrate performance against key objectives and priorities. 

There are several reasons that KPIs are important: 

  • They can show progress towards goals and targets
  • They can help identify improvement opportunities
  • They can support accountability to stakeholders by enabling reporting on performance 

Characteristics of a good KPI 

Well-developed KPIs will support the ERO and their team to demonstrate what difference their work is making, which in turn demonstrates performance against the outcomes set out in the performance standards. 

Using the ‘SMART’ method, a KPI should be: 

Specific - Clear and focused towards performance targets 
Measurable - Can be recorded and used to report on 
Achievable - Targets are reasonable and attainable 
Realistic - Directly relevant to the work being done 
Time-bound - Can be measured over a given timeframe 

How to develop KPIs

The performance standards framework supports a step-by-step process to define your KPIs. It sets out clear outcomes that EROs should be seeking to achieve and the activities that EROs are likely to undertake in order to be able to deliver those outcomes. Taking into account the activities you undertake and the data you have available to you, you can develop KPIs that help demonstrate the impact of registration activities, and the difference they have made towards the overall outcomes as set out in the performance standards. 

In addition to this guidance, we have also developed a resource on using data, which includes information on accessible local data on population and housing, outlining what is available and where it can be accessed. 

It is not always straightforward to measure directly the impact of activities and there are many variables which can have an effect, many outside the EROs control. However, by using commentary and narrative to explain the data it is still possible to demonstrate what your work is achieving. Reporting will also allow you to provide the context of wider challenges for electoral registration that exist in your area.

Monitoring and reporting  

Once you have established your KPI’s, you will be able to monitor and report on progress against them. Collation and analysis of data will give you a good understanding of your performance against the KPIs that you set and will give you an indication whether the activities that you have been carrying out have been effective and whether any changes to these need to be made. 

The frequency of how often you report on progress will vary for each KPI, depending on the appropriateness of when to collate and analyse the data. In some instances you would want to be looking more frequently at results, such as on a monthly basis, and for others you may consider to report on a quarterly or yearly basis.

Setting targets

Once you have identified your KPIs you can then set a target – a level of performance that you are aiming to reach in the future, whether this be monthly, quarterly or yearly or a specific period of time following a particular activity. 

For example, if the KPI is about levels of additions to the register from a particular hard to reach group, such as, for example, attainers, to establish a target you will need to consider what the starting point is for this group – do you know the current levels of registration for this group? What activity is being carried out? Are there any previous patterns in data for this group? How are you going to measure any change? For some under-registered groups, where there is no way to identify them from information on the registers, it might be helpful to use proxy measures. For example, if you know that a particular ward or polling district has a large population of a particular under-registered group then data for the whole area could serve as a proxy measure. 

Taking this all into account you can then set a target for the number of additions that you would want to see over a set period or following a particular activity to encourage registration from these groups. 

It may not always be the case that you want to see an increase, in other instances you may want to maintain the same level or there could be something that you want to reduce. 

By measuring your performance in the specific period of time (i.e. year one/month one) this will then provide a baseline for your KPIs. 

The baseline for a KPI is the average level of performance that you are currently at. Once you have a baseline you will be able to track over time and compare future performance levels with your baseline, to test if performance is really changing and improving. 

Baselining your performance against KPIs will also enable you to review your performance and assess where improvements can be made. You will then be able to set appropriate local targets for your future performance, which will support you to continue refining and improving your performance and consequently showing further achievements towards the overall outcomes of the framework.

Worked examples

Below we have provided examples of how EROs and their teams can use the performance standards to help them develop their own KPIs. It is not an exhaustive list, but instead has been developed to support EROs in determining their own KPIs – the measures and information listed being examples that can be used to build up the picture of performance for each activity.


Example 1