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Home » Research Projects » The Design and Use of Local Metrics to Evaluate Performance: a Comparative Analysis of Social Care Organisations

Measure globally, act locally

How is local performance measured and how does this relate to national ratings?

Much has been claimed and written about the operation of the high-profile targets and performance indicators set by central government for public services in Britain (particularly England). Little is known, however, about how such indicators are used in local management and planning, as in the case of local authority social care services. Here, designing appropriate measures and tools to monitor performance is both important and, in many areas, a legal requirement, so it is important to know more about the challenges facing local authorities in designing measures, developing techniques, moving from using measures to acting on evidence, and the relationship between centrally-set performance ratings and the way local authorities measure and manage their own performance.

This study explores these issues through investigating social care services for older people in England and Northern Ireland (a particularly costly service within local councils and one relatively unexamined in the public services performance literature). How is performance measured in these organisations? What are the relationships between national performance ratings and local performance management?

What does the research mean for policy-makers and the wider community

Research Methods

A mixture of methods will be used:

Project Outputs and Related Webpages

January 2010: Comparing How to Compare: An Evaluation of Alternative Performance Measurement Systems in the Field of Social Care’ Evaluation 16: 59-79.

September 2009: ‘Has social care performance in England improved? An analysis of performance ratings across social services organisationsPolicy Studies,Volume 30, Issue 4

August 2009: ‘The Design and Use of Local Metrics to Evaluate Performance: A Comparative Analysis of Social Care OrganisationsResearch and Policy Updates – Issue 2 (.pdf)

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

December 2008 (pdf): ‘The Design and Use of Local Metrics to Evaluate Performance: a Comparative Analysis of Social Care OrganisationsResearch and Policy Update ,Issue 1

Programme Discussion Paper (pdf): DP0806 Has Social Care Performance in England Improved? An analysis of Performance Ratings across Social Services Organisations

June 2008: Performance Measurement in Adult Social Care: Looking Forwards and Backwards, British Journal of Social Work (Advanced Access)

A literature review is availableThe Design and Use of Local Metrics to Evaluate Performance: A comparative analysis of social care organisations (July 2007), for related research please visit the PSSRU

Research Team

David Challis

David Challis

David Challis is Professor of Community Care Research and Director of the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU), University of Manchester.

Email: d.j.challis@manchester.ac.uk

Paul Clarkson

Paul Clarkson

Paul Clarkson is Research Fellow at PSSRU, University Of Manchester. He has worked on Department of Health research projects and as part of collaborative work with university researchers in Japan, designing and monitoring local performance measurement systems for long-term care of older people.

Email: paul.c.clarkson@manchester.ac.uk

Michael Donnelly

Michael Donnelly

Michael Donnelly is Reader, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, School of Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast.

Email: m.donnell@qub.ac.uk

Roger Beech

Roger Beech

Roger Beech is Reader in Health Services Research, Centre for Health Planning and Management, Keele University.

Email: r.beech@keele.ac.uk