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Glossary

Accountability
Obligation to demonstrate that work has been conducted in compliance with agreed rules and standards

Accuracy
Degree of conformity of an indicator to a true value given the data quality and resources; Precision is the degree that further calculations will show the same or similar results. The results of the indicator calculation can be accurate but not precise, precise but not accurate, neither, or both; if a result is both accurate and precise, it is called valid (See Quality assurance).

Aggregation
The process of the calculation of national or regional performance indicators on the basis of data and indicators from a set of individual utilities.

Attribution
Explaining the link between the results achieved and a specific intervention. It represents the extent to which observed changes can be attributed to the performance of a utility taking into account other interventions (planned or unplanned), confounding factors or external shocks.

Benchmark
1. Reference point or standard against which progress or achievements may be compared, e.g., what has been achieved in the past, what other utilities are achieving, what was targeted, what could reasonably have been achieved in the circumstances;

2. An intermediate target to measure progress in a given period.

Benchmarking
The study and analysis of the performance of a utility or a group of utilities in order to improve one's own performance.

Benchmarking, metric
The quantitative measurement of performance against other utilities over time, using Key Performance Indicators, such as that exists in the IBNET Toolkit.

Benchmarking, process
The analysis of the utility's business processes while comparing the utilities' performance with that of utilities that are considered to perform exemplary in implementing these business processes.

Best practice
Best practice data are used to demonstrate what works and what does not and to accumulate and apply knowledge about how and why they work in different situations and contexts.

Census
A census is the process of obtaining information about every member of a population (not necessarily human population). It can be contrasted with sampling in which information is only obtained from a subset of a population of utilities.

Clearing house
Professional association, regulator or consultative group that helps to understand indicators value and exclude common errors at the benchmarking process.


Consistency check
The procedure that assures that all data for calculation of a specific indicator were collected with the same approach, using the same time span and data accuracy level.

Core Overall Performance Indicators
Core OPI's combine partial indicators of operating or financial performance;  these are summary indices.

Cost-effectiveness
The relation between the costs (inputs) and results produced by a project. A project is more cost effective when it achieves its results at the lowest possible cost compared with alternative projects with the same intended results.


Data
Specific quantitative or qualitative information or facts that are collected.

Data collection
The process of gathering information to enable the calculation of indicators.

Data collection tools
Methodologies used to identify information sources and collect information during benchmarking assessment.



Effectiveness
The extent of which the development objectives were achieved, taking into the account their relative importance

Efficiency
A measure of how economically resources/inputs (funds, expertise, time) are converted to results.


Explanatory factors
Physical characteristics, geography, weather, population, and custom are key to understanding the apparent performance gap, and may add to or diminish that gap, generating a real performance gap.

Feedback
The transmission of findings generated through the performance assessment process to concerned stakeholders to facilitate learning. This may involve the collection and dissemination of findings, conclusions, recommendations and lessons from the performance assessment process.


Impact
Positive or negative, primary and secondary, long-term effects produced by a development intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended.

Indicator
Quantitative or qualitative factor or variable that provides simple and reliable means to measure achievement, to reflect the changes connected to an intervention, or to help assess the performance of a utility.

KPI (Key performance indicators)
The most important parameters of utility performance that give an indication how well the process, or the utility is operating.


Monitoring
A continuing function hat uses systematic collection of data on specified indicators to provide management and the main stakeholders with indications of the extent of progress and achievements of objectives and progress in the use of allocated funds.

Node
Database with se set of performance indicators for a country (country node) or a set of utilities (regional node).

Performance
The degree to which a utility operates according to specific criteria/standard/guidelines or achieves results in accordance with stated goal or plans.


Performance gap
The shortfall in performance of a utility in comparing that utility with the "best practice" utilities.

Performance indicator
A variable that allows the verification of changes in the performance of the utility or shows results relative to what was planned.

Performance measurement
A system of assessing performance of a utility against stated goals.

Performance monitoring
A continuous process of collecting and analyzing data to compare how well a utility / sector / program or policy is being implemented against expected results of the utility/sector/program or policy performance based on performance indicators.

The Process Benchmarking Approach
This benchmarking approachr equires detailed analysis of a utility's own business processes and comparison with organizations with exemplary performance.

Quality assurance
The activities and mechanisms set in place that guarantees that the performance data are collected accurately and objectively and the performance indicators are correctly calculated.


Ratio
The relationship in quantity, amount, or size between two or more parameters of utility performance.


Reliability
Consistency of data and evaluation judgments, with reference to the quality of the instruments, procedures and analyses used to collect and interpret data.

Result based management
A management strategy focusing on performance, achievements of outputs, outcomes and impacts.

Stakeholder
Agencies, organizations, groups of individuals who have direct or indirect interest in the utility's performance or its evaluation.

Standard
An acknowledge measure of comparison (with a quantitative or qualitative value).

Statistical Techniques
A method of ascertaining relative performance parametrically that involves assumptions about functional relationships.




Survey
Systematic collection of information from a defined population, usually by means of interviews or questionnaires administered to a sample of units in the population (e.g. households, utilities, service providers).

Sustainability
The system of self-support of the performance assessment and continuous feedback.

Target
Objective of the utility performance that can be measured by a specific performance indicator or group of indicators.

Target group
The specific individuals or organizations who benefit from a better performing utility.



Trend analysis
Analysis of changes of the performance indicators over time.

Validity
The extent to which the data collection strategies and instruments measure what they intend to measure.

Yardstick
Performance comparison benchmark used by a regulator for assessment of the outcomes in absence of direct competition.