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Introduction This report considers performance measurement as applied to the public sector as part of the new public management agenda Key to the discussion is the selection and use of performance indicators The paper attempts to set out the principles of performance measurement offer explanations of why public sector performance is measured as well as looking at different approaches Some problems are identified and finally using a local government case study performance measurement is placed in a broader political and organisational context Managerialism Consumerism and Performance Measurement The management of public services in the UK has undergone a period of major change which can be traced back to the Conservative Government of 1979 who held the view that the sector had too large a share of gross domestic product was inefficient in its operation and was not properly accountable for its activities Glynn and Murphy 1996 Much was made at the time of the good of the private sector and the bad of the public sector As Isaac-Henry Painter and Barnes 1997 describe the Thatcher Government placed the private sector on a pedestal to which the public sector should aspire whether they agreed to or not The authors also outline the managerialist view at that time which was that public sector failure up to 1979 was due to a lack of proper management which should be derived from the private sector and the need for an emphasis on the role of the consumer leading to improved quality at lower cost Performance measurement approaches represent an attempt to address both the consumerist and managerialist agendas It is important to note that the New Labour Government post 1997 has despite criticising the Conservatives whilst in opposition for its reform of the public sector not only embraced the approach but expanded the model further through the Public Private Partnership Service First and Best Value initiatives The adoption of performance measurement can therefore be seen as having the
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