Alberta Municipal Benchmarking Initiative

Today’s municipalities are challenged by an ever-increasing demand to deliver a greater variety and a higher level of public services while maintaining low taxes and user fees. To meet this challenge, municipal governments are continually looking for new ways to improve performance, operationally and fiscally.

In the spring of 2012, a number of municipalities in Alberta expressed an interest in benchmarking their service delivery against leading practices as a way to improve service. At a workshop hosted by the Town of Banff in May 2012, participating municipalities discussed the benefits of benchmarking; developed a preliminary list of guiding principles; and identified considerations related to governance, scope, data collection, resources, and risks.

Subsequent to this workshop, the Town of Banff, on behalf of a group of 13 municipalities, successfully applied to the provincial government for a Regional Collaboration Grant to fund the development of a municipal service delivery benchmarking framework. With the support of the provincial government, the Alberta Municipal Benchmarking Initiative (AMBI) was launched in 2013.

The objective is to develop and implement a framework that will enable a continuous, multi-year benchmarking process for participating municipalities. The initiative includes identifying and gathering comparable metrics and preparing reports to prompt questions, start discussions, identify and share leading practices, and ultimately improve the municipal services provided to Albertans.

Benefits of Benchmarking

The anticipated benefits from this benchmarking project are:

  • Helps tell the municipal “performance story”
  • A sound business practice used in the government and private sectors
  • Sets the stage for sharing knowledge and best practices among the municipal sector
  • Understanding of trends within each municipality
  • Identification of opportunities for change to improve efficiency or effectiveness of municipal services
  • Formation of objective evidence that shows the differentiation between municipalities and provides information for Municipal CAOs to address questions from council, staff, and the community on service efficiency and effectiveness
  • Encouragement of continuous improvement initiatives and a better understanding of the drivers that impact performance results
  • Encourages continuous improvement and awareness of the value of collaboration between municipalities
  • Supports results-based accountability