The public sectors

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1 The Emergence of performance measurement

The emergence of performance measurement is concurrent with the reform of management of the public sectors with complex social context in the west countries during the past 30 years{Power, 1997 #22}{Thiel, March 2002 #16}.

In the 1980s'and 1990s' of last century, the bureaucracy of government were attacked as its inefficiency; the ideology of pursuing policies of privatisation, marketisation, and increased use of private sector business techniques in the public sector were embraced by the government; the development of information and communication technologies changed the way of processing information during the management. Coexistence of those factors has stimulated the reform in most developed states.

There have been many research carried out to study this phenomenon. Among those, the notion of new public management (NPM) put forward by Hood(1991) is popular , though Hughes(2003) argued that the 'new' maybe is not appropriate for its title after more than ten years later.{Hughes, 2003`, 3rd Edition #17}.

the institutional and management style of traditional PA appeared seriously inefficiency in tackling with the challenge came from the changes of the technology and economic, gloabalization and technology.(Hughes) A series of reforms were carried out. As a part of these reforms, a paradigm of public sector management known as new public managerment (NPM) has emerged in OECD countries and elsewhere.(teacher's hand out session2)

This approach to public sector management is supported with market philosophy beliefs, together with an inherent assumption that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector(hand out session2). Thus, market-type mechanisms such as privatization, contact based competitive provision were introduced in the public sector, public organizations were disaggregated into corporatized units or quasi-autonomous nongovernmental organizations(quangos).

Hood (1995) argues that the basis of those changes lay in twofold dimension: reducing or eliminating differences between the public and the private sector and shifting the emphasis from "process accountability" to a "greater element of accountability in terms of results"(P94). Contrast with the traditional public administration, performance and quality service delivery, in place of traditional concerns of political, bureaucratic and professional values, become the emphasis of public management. (Rouse book P76). Meanwhile, "hands-on management"(Hood,1995,P97) take the place of "hands-off" management(P97). Government takes hold of public organizations "in a more 'Homeostatic' style according to preset output measures"(P97). Agencies in many parts of government are expected to develop "more explicit and measurable(or at least checkable) standards of performance"(P97), such as "performance indicators"(Hughes,2nd P181) Performance measurement and management has been indispensable element in modernizing the public sector {Bouckaert, Jun. 2002 #24}.

2 The debate on performance measurement

Performance measurement is crucial for financial management and personnel management.

Hughes (1998) states that there existed measures in traditional public administration, however, it were "ad hoc and far from systematic"(P181). The absence of performance measurement can lead to many problems. Such as the allocation of money were decided by imperfect even irrational resultant of political bargaining at the highest level of government.(P169), Staff of governments would be no passion because no formal appraise system to distinct the good and bad perform. All those consequences have obstructed the improvement of the effective, efficiency and economics of government. The use of performance measurement will reduce those disadvantages. Firstly, for individual public servants, it can give them a chance to gain reward by addressing how well they perform according to the indicators, though it also bring them pressure, even a threat. Secondly, for a public activity, the adequate enunciation about its performance measures is help to gain more support from every aspects and avoid being cut or removed altogether. Thirdly, it is essential for 'setting clear objectives, or funding programmes accordingly'.(Hughes,3rd,P159)

Performance measurement is also viewed as a response to the demands of accountability. Flynn (1997) also points out that public sector organization are in principle accountable to the public for three things: how the money has been spent, how the resources have been used and what outcomes are achieved when money and resource are used. Politicians are accountable for the policy decisions and agencies are accountable for their management. "Both sets of accountabilities require ways of measuring performance"(P170).

Although there are those benefits of performance measurement in public sector, there are numerous debates on it. Some people are skeptical of the assumptions of measurement. It is believed that it is impossible to measure the public sector because the objectives measured are the behavior of people. They are too complex to be measured and in fact they are even not material products with certain prices in real markets. This view is labeled "impossibility disease" by Bouckaert and Balk(1991). Another view about the assumption of measurement is that we try to measure something not existed. That is government is efficient. If it is not, it must have been changed. Bouckaert and Balk(1991) name this as "Pangloss disease".

Some people believe that performance in the public sector is measurable. What they concern is whether measurement itself is valid or the interpretation of the measurement information is reasonable. Bouckaert & Balk (1991) identified two set of diseases with ten kinds of diseases related to this type. They are convex/concave disease, hypertrophy disease, atrophy disease and Mandelbrot disease the pollution disease, the inflation disease, the enlightenment/top-bottom disease, the time-shortening disease, the mirage disease and the shifting disease.(P230) Some of the diseases may be cured by adjusting measure methods, such as hypertrophy disease, which arise when measuring itself affect the output, may be cured by adding measures. While some of them could not be cured by this way, Such as the Mandelbrot disease. This disease means people can get disoriented about public sector performance as a result of measurement. For example, "Northern Great Britain seems to have more fires than other European countries because it has a better statistical technique for measuring."(P231)

If the performance indicators could not reflect the performance itself, the measure is meaningless Bouckaert & Balk (1991). Thiel and Leeuw(2002) call this kind of meaningless measurements performance paradox(P271), and point out there are four processes resulting in weaken performance indicators: positive learning, perverse learning, selection and suppression. Through analysis, they classify performance paradox as two categories. One category is named as unintended performance paradox. It may be the result of minimal accountability requirements, or elusiveness of policy objectives. Goals hard to measure or strong emphasis on monitoring and efficiency within the organization also may improve the probability of unintended performance paradox occurring. Another category is deliberate performance paradox, which is caused by the organizations' intention. Thiel and Leeuw express that only when unintended paradoxes occur, deliberate performance paradoxes occur. (PP.271-274)

It is argued that the basic reasons of performance paradoxes are the vague definitions of performance. Colin Talbot(2000 P63)states that government does not have a policy statements about what is meant by performance. It maybe means economy and efficiency, or economy, efficiency and effectiveness or outputs. It also may mean quality and customer service, for example the first edition of the Patient's Charter in the NHS, or balanced scorecard. Now the most mentioned meaning of performance is outcomes or social results. The government may be arbitrary to choose one performance definition which is good for their own interest. While there are different departments within government structure, they hold different understanding of performance and give differing advice with rare co-ordination of their own activities among themselves to the performance management in the public sector. The results of the management may be that the goals of a public agency are in conflict.(Propper& Wilson 2003 P3) Therefore, the agency will alter their behavior to maximize their own benefit. Such as massaging of truancy rates in UK education.(P3)

Similarly, Flynn(1997) points out that public services have a variety of stakeholders: politicians, agencies, citizens. It is not likely that all the stakeholders will be interested in the same results(Flynn 1997 P). Dixit(2002) argued they are the special features of the public sector: several masters for organizations and consequently, several ends to achieve. As a result of the special features of public sector, what the concept of good performance mean becomes problematic (Rouse book P78).

Performance measurement and accountability is inseparable. As what Flynn(1977) state, performance measurement systems are viewed as significant responses to contemporary public demands for government accountability for social spending and social programs.(P361). However there is a tension between performance and accountability because "performance is always performance for someone, and accountability for performance is always accountability to someone( Bouckaert and Peters2002 P.361). De Lancer Julnes (2006) analyses a survey of a sample of 934 individuals carried out in 1997. He finds that paradoxical results occur when the role of accountability is considered. On the one hand, the demand for accountability has encouraged people to use performance measures. On the other hand, accountability was viewed as a deterrent to developing and implementing this kind of information. The respondent expressed that performance measurement should a management tool to help them do their job better rather than a method meant to be an accountability hammer (P227). Based on the survey, De Lancer Julnes(2006) suggests performance measurement can best used for accountability purposes when it defined in terms of oversight and compliance.(P232)

3 The impact of performance measurement on educational sector

Public education is an important constituent of public sector, on which new public management has had huge impact. In 1988, the UK issued Education Reform Act. Since then, the education sector in the UK has been subject to relatively high levels of public monitoring. The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (OFSTED) system is charged to inspect and report school performance, and results are published by National Statistics, which is currently commonly referred to as school league table. The US also passed the "No Child Left Behind" legislation(Job P5) in 2001. A variety of explicit and implicit incentives at both school and teacher level are incorporated into different states' accountability systems (Kane and Staiger 2002). For both countries, school performance measurements are considered as ways of measuring outcomes to ensure school efficiency and accountability.(Miller, 2008)

Students' performance in national examination is crucial for school performance. Take the NI school policy as a example, there are 13 quality indicators related to educational accountability listed in the government consultation document: Every School A Good School---A Policy For School Improvement (2008), among which, 'performance in assessments and public examinations'(P4) is listed the top. In the following part, overall performance of the current schooling system is addressed. Again, there are 5 parts among total 7 parts are focused or based on the school performance of the result of GCSE(P13-15). It is evident that key outcome measures are the percentage of the school's students who obtain 5+ GCSEs(or equivalent) at grades A*-C. Similarly, the US policy also focus on 'improving the quality of schooling or how much is learned each year' which are measured by test.(Hanushek 2002 p.2056, cf use andusefulness).

The performance indicators based on test scores to evaluate school performance are questioned widely. It is argued that the raw test scores are not sufficient to capture the movement towards the goal of improving student performance. Propper & Wilson(2003) point out that the reported data of outcomes is often the percentage of a cohort achieving a particular target at a particular grade or level. Such as aforementioned example, the NI focuses on the percentage of pupils who obtain 5+ GCSEs at grade C or above, while 'education is a cumulative process, building on a series of inputs over time.'(P11) The previous knowledge that pupils own before they are enrolled in school have impact on the achievement in the national examination. It is inequity to compare raw test scores without taking account of factors out of a school's control.

For improving the validity of the measure, the UK adopted value added measures in 2002 in the UK school performance tables for the first time (Wilson 2003, cf Propper 2003). Value-added performance measures aims to measures "the difference between the state of knowledge or qualifications of a student on course entry and her/his state on exit"( Saunders,1999,P.236 cf Miller et al 2008).The application of the new approach of measures take the individual's previous achievement into account. Furthermore, since 2006, England has added a measure of Contextual Value Added (CVA) which takes into account some socio-economic factors, such as poverty, ethnicity, English as an additional language etc.(Job 2008).

Value added performance measurement represents an improvement on levels,(Propper 2003) which not only focused on the outputs scores, but account for the impact of input which is outside the control of schools. However, the validity of such measure has been questioned. After analyzing the 2400 scores based on the value added concept, Gorard(2006, P239) found that school tend to produce value added scores according to their final attainment, that is schools that produced a high value for raw "performance" scores also produced a very similar high score for the "value added " score as well. Therefore, there are not different with the measure by raw scores. Kane and Staiger(2002) express that though using value added performance measurement helps to reduce inequity, it is at the expense of a reduction in reliability and leads to volatility of performance measurements, which in turn reduces their predictive power. They suggest to pool test score data over time. Job(2008) pointed out that 'Education is a qualitative experience over time that is different for every student and for different cohorts, encompassing a wide range of factors that simply cannot be measured in this way(value-added)'.(P16)

3.1 accountability

Another debate about school performance measurements is on whether it is reasonable to public the result of performance measurements. It is common to find this kind of debate at media. For example, it was reported that Eton and St Paul's heads boycotted independent schools' league tables in April 2008 before the Boarding School Association's annual conference.(Guardian) They expressed that the league table harmed the subjects helpful to produce more rounded children, meanwhile it had brought huge pressure to produce results and made them 'exam junkies'. On the contrary, Jim Knight, the schools minister claimed "Sharp accountability has driven forward results", moreover, though it would be accused of hiding things, the way that government publish data on schools is better than that media do because the former is in a "controlled, scrutinized way".(

What Jim Knight said represents a kind of view held by people who support to public the measures information. Among them, it is generally agreed that the publication of performance measures is the response to demand of accountability. As McEwen(1995) states:

Public education is funded by taxpayers who want and have a right to know if they are getting value for their investment. Such accountability requires public information. .(P.27)(quote from Miller) .Public information can provide parents with information on individual school performance, thus parents can choose the best educational product for their children.

However, to what extent the public information can give parents

Is it a effective incentive tool

The publication of summary performance measures has led the test to be high stake for schools, teachers. As Thiel and Leeuw state one reason of the unintended performance paradox : "extensive use of performance indicators can create a situation in which agents learn what aspects of their work are important to the principal."(P273), the measures of school performance may cause some dysfunctional behavior.

In 2008, ", the head of St Paul's boys' school in west London criticized that the league table system encouraged schools to divert time and resources away from activities that nurture students' good personalities. He said: "you get these from sport, from music, from drama...which the league tables don't actually measure and which are being ruled out of our schools .(Eton and ) ". In China, courses like P.E, music and art may be ignored in many schools. It is common that students are attending mathematics course when the timetable of a school is scheduled it is time to have an art course. Although schools are required to set those courses according to both the documentary of local and national bureau of education, few attention are paid to them because the final evaluation about the schools, teachers and students almost totally depend on the results of that really tested subjects. Schools are ranked according the rate of students enrolled by higher school by the local Bureau of Education, teachers are awarded or blamed according to their students' academic grade.

This phenomenon of diverting time and resources away from those non-measured subjects, namely "narrowing" curriculum, is not new. In 2002, the research carried out by Wiggins and Tymms provide evidence that the 'narrowing' effect on the curriculum exist at primary level in the UK. The time students spend on music, PE and technology were reduced because league table, and pupils are changed from 'learning oriented' towards "performance oriented". Similarly, Mansell (2007) notes this issue caused by accountability testing.

Another similar dysfunctional behavior has been mentioned above: "teaching to test". Teachers exhibit that what they want students to learn and prepare for curricula concentrate mainly on what is expected to be tested. (Propper & Wilson 2003)

Given the limitation of the performance indicators aforementioned, schools may take some cream skimming strategies in response to performance measurements.(Propper & Wilson 2003). Cream skimming is the behavior that selecting pupils to maximize their examination 'league table' results or, conversely, not selecting those who are likely to have a negative impact on school examination results. Figlio and Getzler(2002) provide the empirical evidence about it. Through analyzing 470,747 students sample, they found that schools place students who likely to perform worst on the state tests into special education classes in order that those students are ineligible for the state tests that are the subject of the indicator. It also may happen during school admissions procedure. West et al (2003) found that school adopt admissions criteria and admissions policies and practices to "select in" or "select out" particular types of pupils. Propper and Wilson state that one way to reduce the incentive for such behavior is improve the validity of indicator itself, like value added measures.

The consequence of causing inequity is well documented. In 2000, the study carried out by Gillorn and Youdell by university of London academics found that National Curriculum Tests and league tables is not only deepened racial, ethnic and class inequalities, but also led to irrational and unfair allocation of educational resources. Furthermore, because levels based on the performance measurements are often reported with regard to the percentage of pupils who attain a specific target, schools are more likely to focus their attention on the borderline pupils. Therefore they may detriment of pupils who are below or above the benchmarks. For example, higher achieving students were not encouraged to take more than the five minimum GCSE subjects they needed rather to meet the school performance benchmarks to allow school resources to concentrate on those students on the borderline. Wiggins and Tymms(2002) draw similar conclusion from their study in UK primary schools concerned with achieving their Key Stage 2 targets.

Based on literature review, Propper and Wilson(2003) draw the conclusion that there is almost no evidence on whether the performance measurements system improve the efficiency of the public service being delivered.

Job(2008 P20) argues that De Lancer Julnes(2006) suggests that the purposes of accountability should aim to improve service delivery rather than to punish in instance when services are not performing to expectations.(P232).However, the league table and the public reporting of data label schools as success schools or failing schools. It is inevitable that some schools will be stigmatized. (Job2008 P11). Accountability is used as a mechanism for shifting blame. In addition, "failing school" will face the shrunken budget.Schools and teachers are punished through that way. For avoiding being punished, schools and teachers are more likely to do things like aforementioned "narrowing curriculum", "teaching to test", "cream skimming".

Job(2008 P21) also expresses that accountability of school performance measurement should focus on enhancing student learning rather than as a mechanism for shifting blame.

Furthermore, it is very different "between an accountability system based on supporting teachers and recognizing their professionalism and one based on mistrust".(Job.P19) Job cites the view of