Humans of dxw: from marketing to performance analysis

I’m the first performance analyst in dxw. It’s been exciting and scary going from a role I knew, to helping shape what a performance analyst looks like here

I say my performance career started in 2020 when I joined one of the bigger local authorities, working in the performance team for the Children’s Social Care directorate. But in some way, it’s been a big part of what I’ve done for a while.

Before I joined, I’d been in marketing for over 5 years and hadn’t enjoyed it. I moved from in-house at a big construction company, to a small digital agency and then a bigger full-service agency in the hope that it was the setting I wasn’t enjoying. It wasn’t. And the moment I started my new career at the council it felt like a happy relief.

I loved working in the public sector. The work felt so important and I knew that while I wasn’t on the frontline, like the social workers I was working with, I was able to contribute to improving the experiences of children and families across the county.

I’ve always loved working with numbers and this job gave me a way of doing that in a context I was actually interested in.

I could talk about performance until the cows come home. It’s a bit of each of these 3 things.

1. Visualising data

A big part of what I do is helping people to understand how a service is performing. Often this is by taking data from the systems they work in, and presenting it back to them in a way they can understand. 

There are all kinds of data visualisation tools out there but I’ve mostly used Tableau and Looker Studio. Using these tools requires:

2. Monitoring performance against important measures

When you say “performance analyst” people often think of “key performance indicators” (or KPIs). While we are often part of the conversation around indicators, ultimately research-based best practice should inform policy and procedures for a service, and policy and procedures should inform measures. 

For example, if policy dictates that assessments should be completed within 45 working days of a referral, it’s our job to make sure that the systems where referrals and assessments are recorded are built in a way that will capture the info we need to measure.

When they are, we can extract it in a way that helps us answer the questions below:

3. Analysing factors impacting performance

As well as being able to show/tell a service how often they’re meeting expectations, we can help them dig a bit deeper into what may be impacting their ability to do so.

In the assessment example above, there could be lots of different reasons that assessments aren’t completed on time. Some examples could be:

And sometimes, when all avenues have been explored, it’s the expectations themselves that need revisiting.

In essence, diligent performance monitoring is the heartbeat of effective public service. By maintaining this constant oversight, we don’t just ensure compliance with standards; we facilitate a culture where excellence is the norm, and services evolve to meet, and exceed, the needs of the community.

This journey has been more than a career shift for me. It’s a commitment to contributing to a system where efficiency, effectiveness, and ethical responsibility are not just ideals, but everyday realities.