Measuring the Performance of Public Services

Measuring the Performance of Public Services : Principles and Practice

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Measuring the performance of public agencies and programmes is essential to ensure that citizens enjoy quality services and that governments can be sure that taxpayers receive value for money. As such, good performance measurement is a crucial component of improvement and planning, monitoring and control, comparison and benchmarking and also ensures democratic accountability. This book shows how the principles, uses and practice of performance measurement for public services differ from those in for-profit organisations, being based on the need to add public value rather than profit. It describes methods and approaches for measuring performance through time, for constructing and using scorecards, composite indicators, the use of league tables and rankings and argues that data-envelopment analysis is a useful tool when thinking about performance. This demonstrates the importance of allowing for the multidimensional nature of performance, as well as the need to base measurement on a sound technical footing.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 54 b/w illus. 20 tables
  • 1139216112
  • 9781139216111

Review quote

'Globally, governments are coming under immense pressure to demonstrate that public finances are spent wisely. An important aspect of this trend is the need to ensure that public services are performing efficiently and effectively. Mike Pidd's timely book offers a comprehensive survey of the field. Drawing on a rich set of real-world examples, the book is an authoritative guide to both the reasons for measuring public sector performance measurement, and the techniques needed to produce credible measures.' Peter Smith, Professor of Health Policy and Co-director of the Centre for Health Policy, Imperial College 'A great contribution to the performance measurement literature - challenging, thought provoking and full of insight - I recommend this book whole heartedly.' Andy Neely, Professor of Operations Strategy and Performance, Cranfield University and University of Cambridge; Director, Corporate Performance Measurement; Deputy Director, Advanced Institute of Management Research 'After the New Labour government in the UK was criticised for too many top-down targets on public services, the coalition government is seeking other means to manage their delivery. The key message of this book is that performance measurement is a vital part of any systematic attempt to improve public services. The book reviews different perspectives and argues that the systems approach offers a good way of enabling performance measurement to capture the essential activity of any system.' Gwyn Bevan, Professor of Management Science and Director of MSc in Public Management and Governance, LSE 'This is a well written and clearly argued book with a solid empirical and theoretical base. It brings a set of insightful questions to the fraught area of performance measurement in public services. It does not lose the reader in either conceptual or numerical confusion but generally focuses their attention on the basic core issues in the field. The central focus on the different uses of performance measurement and the nature of the choices in terms of practical methods is both useful and illuminating.' Robin Wensley, Professor of Policy and Marketing, Warwick Business School, and Director, Advanced Institute of Management Research
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Table of contents

List of figures; List of tables; Part I. Principles of Performance Measurement: 1. Measuring public sector performance; 2. Why measure, what to measure and what can go wrong; Part II. Different Uses for Performance Measurement: 3. Measurement for improvement and planning; 4. Measurement for monitoring and control; 5. Measurement for comparison; 6. Measurement for accountability; Part III. Practical Methods for Performance Measurement: 7. Measuring performance through time; 8. Scorecards and multidimensional indicators; 9. Composite indicators; 10. League tables and ranking; 11. Data envelopment analysis; Index.
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