This short guide is designed to assist local government managers, elected officials, academics and citizens in understanding the basics of Public Performance Measurement.
This guide explains:
The movement toward a more responsive and transparent government at all levels has been growing steadily over the past decade. This movement has intensified the need for more efficient and effective government that delivers services to citizens. Performance measurement and reporting is designed to provide the type of information critical for decision-makers to allocate limited resources across constituent programs and services, in order to yield the best possible results.
Public performance measurement is a means for governmental agencies and organizations to improve their service delivery by tracking and monitoring departmental and organizational progress. It is important for governmental agencies to monitor their services because they are publicly funded entities.
There are four main reasons why governments choose to use performance measurement.
Most governmental agencies begin the process of measuring performance through one or two key departments of government, such as fire and police. Services that are offered through these departments are tracked by measures. "Performance measures may address the type or level of program activities conducted (process), the direct products and services delivered by a program (outputs), and/ or the results of those products and services (outcomes)." (Artley, Will & Stroh, Susan (September 2001). The Performance-Based Management Handbook (Vol. 2). Washington D.C.: Training Resources and Data Exchange Performance-Based Management Special Interest Group.).
A Public Performance Measurement system is a tool that agencies and organizations use to measure public performance. Most performance measurement systems allow public managers to identify key performance measures, measure performance systematically, track and analyze performance data, display performance data in comparative graphs and charts, and generate performance reports in order to communicate progress internally and externally.
Performance reporting summarizes all the indicators and compares actual results to previously identified targets. Besides comparisons with targets, performance reports may also include comparisons made with "… 1) a previous period; 2) similar jurisdictions; 3) technically developed standards or norms; 4) geographical areas of client groups within the same jurisdiction; and 5) public sector/private sector costs and results with similar organizations. Performance reporting formats will vary depending on the circumstances."
Performance reports should be made accessible to employees within an organization or agency and to the public, and should be created in a way that allow for progress comparisons between previous years and/or similar jurisdictions.