• A strategic framework for performance measurement in local government:

      Coyle, Hilary; University of Derby (2018-09)
      Purpose – To investigate performance measurement in Local Government Authorities and to find out if a tool such as Kaplan & Norton’s (1996) Balanced Scorecard can be effectively used. There is a pressing need for the public sector to be efficient and effective in these times of austerity and thus to find out what they do with regards to performance measurement. To find any themes within the public sector and to see if there is a pattern and a framework that can be created. Design/Methodology/Approach – The current literature is first analysed both in the private sector and in the public sector. A deficiency of literature was found for the public sector and especially that of LGAs. The author is currently an elected member of a district council and an action research approach was taken within this case study. The data collected was then reviewed and followed up by semi structured interviews in all three councils. The data was analysed with a thematic approach. The councils chosen were all in the Midlands and are of a similar size and demographics. Findings – The findings indicate that the balanced scorecard is a tool that the LGAs can use and they do use a version of it but that there are complications to using it. Several themes appear such as: Stakeholders, Communication, Strategy, Leadership, Transparency, Business-Like, Resilience, Austerity and the Use of Balanced Measures. The main finding was that although the councils had good intentions they are not clear about what their citizens and stakeholders want. Therefore the future discussion needs to take a step back and start at the stakeholders rather than starting with the scorecard and the measures. Practical Implications – All LGAs are going through a period of austerity which is imposed by central government. They need to deliver the same quality of services for a reduced fee which means they need to work in an effective manner. By developing a framework that can show how the staff on the ground can influence and achieve the stakeholders’ expectations will enable the organisations to focus on what really matters. Once the council is focussed it can then let go of all the non-value adding activities in order to use their resources to satisfy their stakeholder needs. Originality/Value – There is a gap in the literature for this type of study as all previous studies have been for a singular LGA and from a non-action research viewpoint. A multiple LGA study would give more scope to expand the good practice. Also there is a gap in the literature for action research studies where more depth of insights can be revealed. For the LGAs a framework that can help them decipher the stakeholder needs and translate them into objectives for their staff in all levels of the organisation would vastly help them achieve their targets within the constraints of their ever decreasing stream of funding.