Plans, performance information and accountability: The case of best value

George Boyne*, Julian Gould-Williams, Jennifer Law, Richard Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


The current UK government emphasizes the importance of mechanisms of accountability that involve the planning and public reporting of performance. One example of this is the Best Value performance plan. However, there has been little evaluation of the quality of the information provided in this type of document. This paper draws on literature on stakeholding and user needs to identify the data required for accountability. It then assesses whether the plans produced by Best Value pilot authorities in Wales provide appropriate information. The analysis shows that very few of the plans contained the relevant material. Interviews in the pilot authorities highlighted two key reasons for the poor level of data: a lack of performance indicators prior to Best Value and limited staff expertise in performance measurement. The evidence suggests that documents such as performance plans currently make little contribution to the accountability of public organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-710
Number of pages20
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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