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Oslo Prison Uses SAS® to Support a Balanced Scorecard and Improve Results

The impetus for Oslo Prison's balanced scorecard was long and slow in the making: an outdated organizational structure combined with costly and ineffective management. This bureaucratic legacy had led to a general state of inefficiency, high turnover of staff and budgeting problems – a situation not uncommon for many long-standing public sector entities. "Oslo Prison needed a control tool to be able to see the whole picture and all sides of the operation," says Oslo Prison governor Are Høidal, who has been at the head of the organization since 1997.

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Are Høidal
Prison Governor
Oslo Prison

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The choice fell on Balanced Management by Objectives, made possible by a software solution from SAS. Høidal believes that the prison is benefiting greatly from this decision: "I can see that holistic thinking and supervision in the use of the balanced scorecard have clear advantages. It is my firm belief that we have created an Oslo Prison with better control through having better bases for our decisions."

Today there are 350 inmates in Norway's Oslo Prison. Half of the prisoners are remanded in custody while the other half are serving sentences. Every day, six new prisoners are ferried in through the main gate in Åkerbergveien, and every day six prisoners are released or transferred.

The Magic Number
"Prison management has quite a few measurable parameters and is therefore very well suited to a balanced scorecard control system," says Høidal. "Our final balanced scorecard system, based on SAS, has a control card with 25 measurement parameters."

These 25 parameters cover all significant aspects of both the condition of inmates and the work of prison employees. The prison measures, for example, the number of service days done, police access to custody cells, and the degree of prisoners' dissatisfaction or satisfaction with their situations. Other parameters cover control measures such as visits, the use of narcotics, escape attempts and so on. Oslo Prison's balanced scorecard even monitors situations involving violence and threats of violence, leaves of absence, degree of cooperation with external bodies, absences due to illness among the employees, changes in employees' competence profiles, worker contentment, budget deviations and the number of positive notices in the nationwide media.

Høidal explains that external demands, not just internal pressures, have made it necessary to implement a balanced scorecard at the prison. "Through Parliamentary Report No. 27 of 1997/98 on Criminal Care, new guidelines and technical requirements have come along for the department. It means that we must be more goal oriented. Amongst other things, there are now faster penal reactions, requiring tighter individual follow-up of the prisoners. In order to achieve this, Oslo Prison must be more effective than it previously has been. To make this possible, we must have better control tools and better decision-making tools than before. After some searching and with the help of Statskonsult, I found our balanced scorecard solution."

In 2000, Oslo Prison first determined its new strategy, which was linked with the stated Parliamentary Report, and began to develop Balanced Management by Objectives in September 2001. In spring 2003, the prison was ready to start up the definitive data solution, including the determination of routines and distribution of responsibility for key figures and data collection.

More Criminal Care for Everyone
"In the first phase we did much of the work of setting up our balanced scorecard manually and Statskonsult contributed with invaluable technical competence," says Høidal. "Now we have come to Phase Two where the system is being transferred to data and made more efficient. In this connection, I must praise the SAS people and the solution. I have encountered great commitment from SAS; they have provided a splendid service and I have obtained a very user-friendly system."

Current results of the work with a balanced scorecard in Oslo Prison prove that implementing the solution is proving to be very good value for money. To begin with, "The scorecard improves the quality of the technical prison work, bringing about better adapted serving – which hopefully reduces recidivism in the long term," says Høidal. There is also better budget management and control; the prison balanced its books at the end of 2002, in contrast to having a burden of 5 million Norwegian Kroner (US$679,000) at the beginning of the year.

According to Høidal, goals are being communicated more effectively over the whole concern, making it easier to end up with a coordinated organization. In proof of this, all technical goals set by the controlling authority were reached in 2002.

"Increased investment in technical goals produces increased well-being amongst both prisoners and employees," says Høidal. "The balanced scorecard increases certainty internally: employees are committed, motivation increases, and absences due to illness and turnover show a falling trend. There is better cooperation with the prisoners' network outside the walls and better cooperation with other authorities in general. We have definitely managed to refine our operations and make ourselves holistically more efficient."

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Are Høidal
Prison Governor

Oslo Prison

Uitdaging:
Oslo Prison needed performance KPIs measured for better decision making.
Oplossing:
SAS Strategic Performance Management offered prison results through a balanced scorecard approach. 

I must praise the SAS people and the solution. I have encountered great commitment from SAS; they have provided a splendid service and I have obtained a very user-friendly system. 

Are Høidal

Prison Governor

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