Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Public Sector Performance: Efficiency or Quality?
Pietro Micheli, Steve Mason, Mike Kennerley
Centre for Business Performance, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield, MK43 0AL, UK

Analysis of three recent reports regarding the measurement and reporting of the performance of public service delivery (The Gershon Review1; The Office of National Statistics Report “Public Service Productivity: Health”2 and The Atkinson Review3) suggest that published performance information causes problems when debating the performance of public service delivery. Specifically they highlight the following major problems:
- The focus of performance measures and targets is primarily on efficiency rather than outputs and quality of public services;
- The methodologies of calculating performance measures are often flawed and this limitation is mostly ignored when performance is reported;
- Most performance information is delivered to the public through the filter of the media – very few members of the public review the performance information directly.
These points raise concerns about the way in which public sector performance is measured and communicated which should be taken into consideration when debating the performance of service delivery. (A paper providing more in-depth discussion of this analysis4 is available from\som\cbp)