This book helps elected and appointed government officials and citizens assess and establish standards for the efficient and effective delivery of quality services. Actual benchmarks are provided for numerous services such as libraries, parks and recreation, public works, emergency medical services, courts, animal control, risk management and public transport.

Performance Measurement and Benchmarking
Performance measurement and benchmarking

Aggressive businesses and industries measure performance meticulously. In their popular book on excellence in corporate America, Tom Peters and Bob Waterman (1982) characterized top companies as “measurement-happy and performance-oriented” (p. 240). They found that the very best of the best complement their measurement systems with an action orientation that separates them from the pack. Outstanding companies carefully monitor and record the relevant dimensions of performance—they know the important facts and figures—and they act on that knowledge.

Municipalities and other public sector agencies confront a far different circumstance. Without the pressure of competition or the unforgiving bottom line of profit or loss, governmental units are apt to neglect performance measurement as they focus on more pressing matters. Carefully conceived systems ...

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