This book addresses issues to do with public accountability, audit and performance measurement that are both highly topical and of crucial importance to the theory and practice of public administration in an era of contractualized public management. The literature on public sector contracting - covering both 'hard' agreements (ones that are legally enforceable) and 'soft' agreements (enforced by negotiation and mutual trust) - has been growing for some time and the present book adds a primarily European perspective on contracting, performance-based management and accountability. One important aspect of this study is its recognition that those responsible for monitoring public services, and holding them to account, have had - to an increasing extent - to reconcile tensions between, on the one hand, the need for strong oversight and, on the other, the encouragement of innovation and risk in an increasingly competitive and entrepreneurial public service culture. Following an introductory overview by the three editors the book is in three parts.
The first part deals with the theory and practice of performance measurement and evaluation; the second part provides a series of specific case studies of audit and accountability in a variety of countries and contexts; the third part offers some wider, cross-cutting perspectives. Based on the work of the EGPA permanent study group on the history of contractualization, Contracts, Performance Measurement and Accountability in the Public Sector draws upon the wide expertise and research interests of academics and practitioners from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden and the USA.show more