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Home » Library » Discussion Papers » DP0901: National Performance Measurement and Local Performance Management: a Survey of Local Authority Social Care in England

Abstract

In a setting where performance measurement is used by external bodies to centrally monitor and regulate the operations of organisations, as in English public services, the use of local performance data internally by organisations, to aid organisational learning, may be eclipsed by statutory performance reporting requirements. This paper studies such a system, through examining the configuration and variation in local performance systems in the delivery of social services in England through the use of questionnaire surveys of social care authorities. Our study indicates that local systems of performance measurement are conceptualised primarily within a regulatory context with fewer practices associated with organisational learning. Variation across organisations is examined and findings suggest that factors associated with managerial choice are important determinants of both local performance practice and national performance ratings in this setting. The capabilities of an authority, notably strategy, that are within the remit of managerial action are stronger predictors of local performance system utilisation than technical capabilities (size and resources), which may be relatively fixed by external factors. The capacities for developing local systems of performance management in these organisations, seen as increasingly important in the future, are therefore not fixed but are strongly influenced by management choices. These findings raise several issues regarding the links between the national picture of performance and that viewed internal to organisations.

Keywords: Performance Measures, Management, Local and National, Social Services, Social Care

Full Paper (.pdf): DP0901 National Performance Measurement and Local Performance Management: a Survey of Local Authority Social Care in England

Dr. Paul Clarkson University of Manchester