An investigation into the compatibility of consultation and performance comparison in the UK's policy of best value

Higgins, Paul and Roper, Ian and James, Philip (2005) An investigation into the compatibility of consultation and performance comparison in the UK's policy of best value. International Journal of Consumer Studies , 29 (2) (2). pp. 148-158. ISSN 1470-6431

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Abstract

The policy of Best Value (BV) has been at the centre of the modernization of English and Welsh local government since 1999. At the heart of BV, is a performance management framework aimed at securing continuous improvement in the delivery of local services. This article critically examines the performance comparison – comprising performance indicators, audits and inspections – and consultation elements of this framework from the perspective of how they provide separate avenues to confirm the achievement of continuous improvement in local services. Three key issues are singled out for particular attention and investigated from a conceptual and empirical basis. The first issue relates to the construct validity of the performance comparison and consultation process in terms of the extent to which they are able to identify failing local services. The second issue involves an examination of whether the performance comparison elements of BV are conducted consistently between authorities, auditors and inspectors and thus the extent to which they provide accurate information about the performance of local services. The third issue identifies the impact of the consultation and performance comparison elements of BV on aspects of service delivery not subjected to these two confirmatory processes. Survey findings drawn from the views of 389 BV lead officers across local authorities in the UK reveal that whilst most respondents believe that the performance comparison elements of BV are able to accurately 'identify failing services', they strongly dispute the consistency of the performance comparison elements of BV. In addition, the survey findings reveal that more respondents than not believe that the performance comparison processes of BV serve to adversely skew resources away from areas of activity subject to less formal measurement. Detailed case study evidence drawn from three local authorities involved in the completion of the entire BV process offer further insights into the compatibility of the performance comparison and consultation processes of BV.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > Business School > Economics and International Development
ID Code:631
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Deposited On:02 Dec 2008 17:17
Last Modified:10 Mar 2014 08:11

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