The Public Management Group is interested in public management issues across the public sector at international, national, regional and local levels. The Central and Local Government Unit within the group, has a long standing interest in the performance management and financial sustainability of locally delivered public services (Murphy & Jones 2015, Steccolini, Jones & Saliterer 2017 Glennon et al 2017, Osbourne et al 2016).
With the challenge of continuing austerity and public service delivery increasingly embracing public, private and not for profit agencies as potential delivery partners, the performance management and financial sustainability of public organisations and services is becoming increasingly complex. Similarly, devolution in the UK has generated alternative approaches in different parts of the UK and there are significant differences emerging between different public services and within sectors.
The Central and Local Government team, have recently been assessing the financial and organisational resilience of local government across different national jurisdictions both in response to the current era of austerity but also in the post-recession long term (Steccolini and Jones 2014). They have also been looking at scrutiny and public assurance arrangements across locally delivered services including Local Government Services (Murphy and Jones 2016).
This project provides an opportunity to contribute to an important, practical and dynamic research environment that seeks to ensure that the public money is appropriately spent and the public receive the level and quality of services they are entitled to expect in a modern democratic society.
The objectives of the study are to:
• Investigate and document the current arrangements for governance and performance management in locally delivered public services in the UK. • Develop an evaluation framework or diagnostic schema for assessing the current arrangements. • Identify, (both generic and sector specific) tools, techniques, systems and processes that have been effective in strategic interventions when appropriately applied to improve local service delivery. • Generate recommendations for the design and implementation of future performance management regimes.
The study is likely to use a mixed methods approach involving both quantative and qualitative research. It should benefit from access to a number of existing national and locally held databases. The research team have also benefitted in the past from close co-operation with several key stakeholders such as the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, the National Audit Office, the Local Government Association, and the Centre for Public Scrutiny.