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Benchmarking Local Government Performance: Capitalizing on New Developments, Avoiding Pitfalls, and Engaging Customers David N. Ammons University of North.

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Presentation on theme: "Benchmarking Local Government Performance: Capitalizing on New Developments, Avoiding Pitfalls, and Engaging Customers David N. Ammons University of North."— Presentation transcript:

1 Benchmarking Local Government Performance: Capitalizing on New Developments, Avoiding Pitfalls, and Engaging Customers David N. Ammons University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2 1.Signs of advances in local government performance measurement 2.Signs of advances in local government performance 3.What scholars are saying about users and uses of performance information 4.What scholars who have studied benchmarking projects are saying about their effects

3 1. Signs of advances in local government performance measurement Leading local governments are reporting more measures of service quality, efficiency, and effectiveness Local government functions that were in the performance measurement “backwater” two decades ago are coming aboard today

4 Which Municipal Functions Are Leaders In Performance Measurement? Leaders in Reporting Higher-Order Measures FinanceLibraryPolice Fire ServicePlanning & Development Sewer Services Human Resource Management Services Water Services Moderate Reporting of Higher-Order Measures Engineering, Street Sweeping, Street Lighting, and Facilities Services; Fleet Services; Information Systems; Parks & Recreation; Risk Management; Solid Waste Collection and Recycling; Traffic Management; Utilities Business Office Reporting Relatively Few Higher-Order Measures Animal Control; Budget; City Attorney; City Clerk; Courts; Economic Development; Emergency Communications; Emergency Medical Services; Engineering; Executive Offices (Mayor or City Manager); Gas and Electric Services; Management Audit; Parking Services; Property Appraisal, Public Health; Public Transit; Purchasing and Warehousing; Social Services; Streets, Sidewalks & Storm Drainage

5 Which Municipal Functions Are Leaders In Performance Measurement? Leaders in Reporting Higher-Order Measures FinanceLibraryPolice Fire ServicePlanning & Development Sewer Services Human Resource Management Services Water Services Moderate Reporting of Higher-Order Measures Engineering, Street Sweeping, Street Lighting, and Facilities Services; Fleet Services; Information Systems; Parks & Recreation; Risk Management; Solid Waste Collection and Recycling; Traffic Management; Utilities Business Office Reporting Relatively Few Higher-Order Measures Animal Control; Budget; City Attorney; City Clerk; Courts; Economic Development; Emergency Communications; Emergency Medical Services; Engineering; Executive Offices (Mayor or City Manager); Gas and Electric Services; Management Audit; Parking Services; Property Appraisal, Public Health; Public Transit; Purchasing and Warehousing; Social Services; Streets, Sidewalks & Storm Drainage

6 Which Municipal Functions Are Leaders In Performance Measurement? Leaders in Reporting Higher-Order Measures FinanceLibraryPolice Fire ServicePlanning & Development Sewer Services Human Resource Management Services Water Services Moderate Reporting of Higher-Order Measures Engineering, Street Sweeping, Street Lighting, and Facilities Services; Fleet Services; Information Systems; Parks & Recreation; Risk Management; Solid Waste Collection and Recycling; Traffic Management; Utilities Business Office Reporting Relatively Few Higher-Order Measures Animal Control; Budget; City Attorney; City Clerk; Courts; Economic Development; Emergency Communications; Emergency Medical Services; Engineering; Executive Offices (Mayor or City Manager); Gas and Electric Services; Management Audit; Parking Services; Property Appraisal, Public Health; Public Transit; Purchasing and Warehousing; Social Services; Streets, Sidewalks & Storm Drainage

7 2. Signs of advances in local government performance Top marks of performance in various municipal functions continue to ratchet upward

8 Advances in Performance Major Performance Gains Streets, Sidewalks, and Storm Drainage For instance in , 4 cities were found reporting the repair of utility cuts within 30 days; by , 9 cities were found reporting this repair within 15 days. Water Services In , 13 cities were found reporting unaccounted water losses of 28.8% or less. By , 26 cities were found reporting losses of 12.2% or less—twice the number of cities and half the amount of loss. Sewer Services In , 7 cities were found reporting 1.92 or fewer sewer stoppages/backups per mile. In , 5 cities were found reporting 1 or fewer per mile and by , 10 cities were found reporting 0.11 or fewer per mile. Emergency Communications By , twice as many cities were found reporting call-answering times roughly half as long those reported in (33 cities reporting answers in 3-17 seconds in the third study segment compared to 16 cities in seconds in the first). Fleet Maintenance In , seven cities were found reporting returns for re-work of 5 percent or less, but by more than twice as many cities were reporting half as many returns (18 were reporting rates of 2.1 percent or less). Information Systems In , 23 cities were found reporting uptimes of 95 percent or greater, but by , 29 cities were found reporting uptime of percent or greater.

9 2. Signs of advances in local government performance Top marks of performance in various municipal functions continue to ratchet upward Longitudinal evidence from individual cities is modestly positive

10 Performance Improvement or Decline among Cities Reporting a Given Measure in Two or More Study Segments Municipal Function Service Dimension No. of Cities Reappearing in Different Study Segments Percentage Exhibiting Performance Trend That Is… FavorableNo Change Un- favorable Development Services Prompt response to bldg inspections 2055%10%35% Fleet Maintenance Promptness of repairs 2100%0% Returns for re- work 786%0%14% Equipment Availability Rate 1225%33%42% ALL FUNCTIONS 20548%10%42%

11 3. What scholars are saying about users and uses of performance information “Get real” about performance budgeting expectations “Get real” about elected officials as users of performance information Real performance management action, if found at all, is more often found at the department or agency level

12 4. What scholars who have studied bench- marking projects are saying about their effects The “gateway” hypothesis is not panning out Beware of the tendency toward isomorphism (i.e., the tendency for organizations in a given field to become more and more similar to one another over time). In some benchmarking projects participants converge on average performance. This was supposed to be about innovation and improvement, not conformity and average performance.

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