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Home » Past Events » Analysing Performance Indicators: Data, Behaviour, Impacts – Workshop

Analysing Performance Indicators: Data, Behavior, Impacts
A workshop jointly sponsored by the Netherlands Institute of Government and the Public Services Programme
15/16 March 2007

Summary of the workshop discussions (pdf)

Performance Management in Practice: A Comparative Study of Executive Agencies (pdf)
Christopher Pollitt (Leuven),
posted: 08/02/2007

Abstract: This article reports a study of performance management practices in four functions across four European Union member states (Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). The focus is on how and to what extent performance indicators influenced the top management of the agencies concerned and the degree to which performance data were used by ministries as steering instruments. The research uses a historical institutionalist perspective combined with a model that identifies primary task characteristics as a source of significant variation. Thus the design explores both the influence of task characteristics (through contrasts among the four different functions) and embedded national system characteristics (through contrasts among the four countries). I show that both primary task characteristics and national system characteristics had some of the theoretically predicted effects on the management regimes. Equally, however, certain general tendencies embraced all countries and most functions. These include, first, the incremental growth of more sophisticated performance indicator systems and, second, the feebleness of ministries in developing performance-based strategic steering.

The Ethics of New Public Management: Is Integrity at Stake? (pdf)
Kolthoff, Huberts & Van den Heuvel (Amsterdam)
Posted: 19/02/2007

Abstract: Since the late 1980s, public administration has moved to a more businesslike approach, commonly referred to as New Public Management or NPM. Output budgeting, privatization, competition and commercialization are receiving more attention than are the exclusive characteristics of certain public tasks and the notion of the public interest.

The question has been raised if too much identification with the style of the private sector might not generate undesired effects too for instance in the area of public integrity. This aspect of new public management has been until now underestimated in the debate. In this paper a theory, based on existing knowledge is provided on the possible negative, as well as the positive, effects on public integrity caused by the introduction of businesslike methods in the public service.

The overall conclusion of the paper is that the effect of introducing businesslike methods in the public sector depends more on the establishment of practical principles to ensure that these methods are exercised in an effective and ethical manner, than the introduction of businesslike methods as such.

Performance Budgeting in the Netherlands: Beyond Arithmetic (pdf)
van Nispen & Posseth (Erasmus University of Rotterdam)
Posted: 13/03/06

Abstract: Performance-based budgeting seems to be a promising tool for improving the management and accountability of public finances. However, its application causes many difficulties. This article briefly reviews international experience with performance-based budgeting and explores its application in the Netherlands since the late 1990s, including a case study of the Safety Programme. The focus is on transparency and the quality of the performance information. Compared to the former input budget, performance-based budgeting constitutes a major step forward. Given the many difficulties in implementing performance budgeting, it is recommendable, though, to critically revise its scope and shape.

Measuring Performance in a Noisy World: Public Sector Performance and Time Series Analysis (pdf)
Will Jennings (LSE)
posted: 14/03/07

Abstract: This briefing paper reviews the state of the art of performance measurement in the United Kingdom and introduces time series “error-correction” and “intervention” models as technique for analysis of performance data, with reference to the relationship between inputs, outputs and outcomes. There is an established literature from the United States that uses time series intervention analysis for the investigation of agency behaviour, but that is focused upon questions of politicization and control (e.g. effects of appointments and oversight). This paper considers potential scope for application of this set of techniques for analysis of data on performance.

Performance Management Behaviour (pdf of presentation)
Hans de Bruijn (Delft University)
posted: 02/04/07

Scanning Good Governance (pdf of presentation)
Frank Hendriks (Tilburg)
posted: 02/04/07