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Protocols and processes for improving performance (IP8)

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Setting out exactly how benchmarking data should be collected and stored

If the industry wants to improve its productivity it needs to benchmark; find a project that is similar to yours, find out what they did better than you, and then work out how you can catch up. However, this is easier said than done, since no one records the same data in the same way. They’re not very keen on sharing it either.

This project set out to define what information should be collected when, and how it should be stored. And it proposes that organisations who are willing to share information can do so by depositing it in the Living Lab Central Data Repository, which will clean and sort it so that authorised users can access and use the data.

A benchmarking framework sets out issues such as definitions and vocabulary; performance areas such as cost, social value or climate resilience; what metrics should be quantified within each area and what data is needed to do that; and at what stage of the project life cycle the data should be recorded.

It’s important that everyone contributing data to the repository is rigorous and professional in the way they do so. Hence, this work also encompassed governance issues such as who has access to which data and who signs off benchmarks. The protocol suggests that the organisations collecting data and contributing to the repository should have benchmarking boards, benchmarking managers and make data collection and sharing part of their day-to-day business.

The Central Data Repository is crucial to the success of benchmarking between the organisations that agree to share information. Functional and technical specifications for the repository will ensure that the data is in a secure, quality-controlled environment with access to it regulated. It also has to be flexible enough to adapt to changes in future data storage requirements.