Benchmarking for improvement
This SFI pamphlet provides a Policy Briefing on the critical and ubiquitous role being performed by benchmarking in public services both in the UK and internationally. It complements and partly draws on a special issue of Public Money and Management edited by me and Alan Fenna which also addresses these issues, and which includes some overlapping material treated in greater depth, and with comprehensive references (see Public services benchmarking and external performance assessment: An international perspective. Guest editors: Clive Grace and Alan Fenna (Vol. 33, No. 4, 2013) at http://www.tandfonline.com/r/pmm-benchmarking).
The way performance of local authorities is measured and compared varies widely in the OECD (Kuhlmann, 2004; Kuhlmann, 2010). We refer to ‘benchmarking’ if the objective is to identify best practices in order to draw lessons for one’s own organization (‘learning from the best’); this may also include explaining any performance gaps. If we could answer Hood’s (2007) question ‘why does it vary’ we might understand and therefore minimize numerous, often perverse effects associated with benchmarking exercises. Therefore we do compare benchmarking exercises at the local level of government in Sweden, England, Switzerland, and Germany to discover whether there are significant country differences or similarities in the governance structure, the extent of coverage and the utilization of the results. We conclude that benchmarking in local government has to be put into context—its institutional and political starting conditions need to be understood, especially the peculiarities underlying the local administrative structures.
The major challenge of local governments in the eight countries under review (Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine) over the past twenty years has been adjusting to the narrowing role and size of government, and the resulting reduction in local resources, while attempting to maintain the high quality of social services provided at the local level during the Soviet period.
During the last years, positive trends have been seen in some countries in the field of decentralization. In Armenia, the list of local taxes and duties was enlarged in 2010. In Ukraine, the concept of Local Government Reform was recently approved, and a new framework for local self-government legislation is currently being developed. In 2010, Belarus adopted a law on Local Government and Self-government.
However, in other countries, centralization tendencies are being observed: a reduced level of tax autonomy in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia; a nomination of local self-government heads by the central government in Kyrgyzstan; the reorganization of local governments in Georgia; as well as limitations to expenditure autonomy of local governments in Russia.
The recent financial crisis has revealed weaknesses within the local finance system of some of the Eurasian countries, while in other countries local budgets seem to be doing better than central/regional ones due to their reliance on the most stable revenues sources.
This article is devoted to the study of problems of creation, organization and operation of financial control in Russia at the municipal level. The work is based on the laws and judicial practice materials on the organization of municipal financial control in the Russian Federation.
The article is dedicated to the functioning of the law and local government system which was created by the Ottomans to control their Balcan lands. Local conflict management is considered in the multiethnic and multiconfessional environment. The paper also focuses on the synthesis of secular and Islamic traditions in Ottoman legislature, as well as the way law influenced the historical development of the Balcan nations.
This report analyzes the architecture of fiscal decentralization in one hundred and ten countries as well as in major metropolitan areas. In the majority of these countries, local authorities are taking on more and more responsibilities for public investment and the provision of services that are essential for both economic development and the well being of their citizens. If increasing fiscal decentralization has been a global trend in recent decades, there are significant variations across and within regions and countries. Local budgets make up on average 25% of public expenditure in the countries of the European Union but less than 5% in many developing countries. Decentralization in terms of revenue and expenditure autonomy has also increased, however this has been uneven across countries and has seen greater advances in expenditure than in revenues, where sources remain limited and uncertain, especially for small and middle size cities. With accelerating urbanization and important shifts in the global context (climate change, increasing risk of natural disaster, migration, and demographic changes among others), current funding levels are insufficient for local governments to respond to the urbanization of poverty, growing investment requirements and other pressing needs. The economic and financial crisis that began in 2008 only worsened the situation. This book identifies universal challenges facing local government finance, as well as those more regional and country specific. Some of the most common are inadequate sources of revenue, unpredictable transfers and grants, excessive higher-level budget controls, and unfunded mandates. In addition to analyzing these challenges and opportunities, the report proposes recommendations to strengthen the fiscal role and performance of local governments around the world.
This publication contains materials of the scientific conference on "The constitutional theory and practice of public authorities: patterns and deviations", held in April 2015 at the initiative of the Department of Constitutional and Municipal Law at the Faculty of Moscow State University Lomonosov.
The publication is addressed to teachers, graduate students, applicants, students of universities, scientists - employees of legal academia. It is lso of interest to those working or studying in the faculties of political science, philosophy and sociology of education, for deputies and members of staff of representative bodies.
The book contains selected revised papers from the 21st NISPAcee Annual conference "Regionalization and Inter-regional Cooperation", Belgrade, Serbia, 16-18 May 2013, organized in cooperation with the Faculty of Organizational Sciences, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia.
The problem of optimizing the size of municipalities in order to achieve the greatest administration efficiency is raised. The results of socio-economic survey of five small villages in Slovakia are sited, basing the identification of the factors that contribute to and limit the process of merging small municipalities.
The experience of the well known world business schools in using MBA programs is analysed. Тhe history of MBA programs is presented on many American and European examples. American and British benchmarking in qualities and the content of training programs reflects the current level of business education in many countries of the world. Programs in Harvard School of Business, Ecoles Superior de Commerce, INSEAD and other prestigious schools of business are discribed.
The article is devoted to the study of the authoritarianism prevalent in the mass consciousness of Russians. The article describes a new approach to the consideration of the authoritarian syndrome as the effects of the cultural trauma as a result of political and socio-cultural transformation of society. The article shows the dynamics of the symptoms of the authoritarianism, which appear in the mass consciousness of Russians from 1993 to 2011. This paper proposes a package of measures aimed at reducing the level of the authoritarianism in Russian society.
This work looks at a model of spatial election competition with two candidates who can spend effort in order to increase their popularity through advertisement. It is shown that under certain condition the political programs of the candidates will be different. The work derives the comparative statics of equilibrium policy platform and campaign spending with respect the distribution of voter policy preferences and the proportionality of the electoral system. In particular, it is whown that the equilibrium does not exist if the policy preferences are distributed over too narrow an interval.
The article examines "regulatory requirements" as a subject of state control over business in Russia. The author deliberately does not use the term "the rule of law". The article states that a set of requirements for business is wider than the legislative regulation.
First, the article analyzes the regulatory nature of the requirements, especially in the technical field. The requirements are considered in relation to the rule of law. The article explores approaches to the definition of regulatory requirements in Russian legal science. The author analyzes legislation definitions for a set of requirements for business. The author concludes that regulatory requirements are not always identical to the rule of law. Regulatory requirements are a set of obligatory requirements for entrepreneurs’ economic activity. Validation failure leads to negative consequences.
Second, the article analyzes the problems of the regulatory requirements in practice. Lack of information about the requirements, their irrelevance and inconsistency are problems of the regulatory requirements in Russia.
Many requirements regulating economic activity are not compatible with the current development level of science and technology. The problems are analyzed on the basis of the Russian judicial practice and annual monitoring reports by Higher School of Economics.
Finally, the author provides an approach to the possible solution of the regulatory requirements’ problem. The author proposes to create a nationwide Internet portal about regulatory requirements. The portal should contain full information about all regulatory requirements. The author recommends extending moratorium on the use of the requirements adopted by the bodies and organizations of the former USSR government.