External Constraints on Local Service Standards: The Case of Comprehensive Performance Assessment in English Local Government
Version of Record online: 15 AUG 2005
Volume 83, Issue 3, pages 639–656, August 2005
How to Cite
Andrews, R., Boyne, G. A., Law, J. and Walker, R. M. (2005), External Constraints on Local Service Standards: The Case of Comprehensive Performance Assessment in English Local Government. Public Administration, 83: 639–656. doi: 10.1111/j.0033-3298.2005.00466.x
- Issue online: 15 AUG 2005
- Version of Record online: 15 AUG 2005
- Date received 8 January 2004. Date accepted 5 December 2004.
Central government in the UK has introduced performance management regimes that apply rewards and sanctions to local service providers. These regimes assume that organizational performance is attributable to decisions made by local policy-makers rather than circumstances beyond their control. We test this assumption by developing a statistical model of external constraints on service standards and applying this model to the outcomes of comprehensive performance assessment (CPA) in English local government. The results show that CPA scores were significantly influenced by the characteristics – such as social diversity and economic prosperity – of local populations. Thus ‘poor’ performance is partly attributable to difficult circumstances rather than bad choices.