Why does performance benchmarking vary? Evidence from European local government
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.