External constraints on local service standards: The case of comprehensive performance assessment in english local government

Rhys Andrews*, George A. Boyne, Jennifer Law, Richard M. Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Central government in the UK has introduced performance management regimes that apply rewards and sanctions to local service providers. These regimes assume that organizational performance is attributable to decisions made by local policy-makers rather than circumstances beyond their control. We test this assumption by developing a statistical model of external constraints on service standards and applying this model to the outcomes of comprehensive performance assessment (CPA) in English local government. The results show that CPA scores were significantly influenced by the characteristics - such as social diversity and economic prosperity - of local populations. Thus 'poor' performance is partly attributable to difficult circumstances rather than bad choices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-656
Number of pages18
JournalPublic Administration
Volume83
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005

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