The purpose of this paper is to analyse how local governments implement non‐mandatory performance measures (PM), the types of PM employed, the degree of their usefulness in decision making and/or accountability, and their outcomes.
The information was collected through a questionnaire sent to the expert managers in charge of developing PM for Spanish local governments with more than 50,000 inhabitants. In addition, data sources were triangulated through an analysis of the performance indicators published in the notes to the local governments' financial statements and in their web sites.
The implementation of PM in Spain follows a top‐down approach in which each local government can choose whether to implement PM, how to implement them, and what information to disclose. Implementation features a high degree of involvement on the part of managers and little involvement on the part of medium‐ and street‐level staff. PM are used primarily for budgetary and strategic management planning and long‐term decision making.
The paper will be useful to academics and practitioners to enable better understanding of the problems associated with introducing and using non‐financial, non‐mandatory PM. The Spanish case is similar to that of most continental European countries, in the leeway their local governments have in implementing their own PM systems.
The paper sheds light on the application of an interesting aspect of public sector management accounting and contributes to the literature by analyzing the application of a non‐mandatory PM system in a non‐Anglo‐American context.
Torres, L., Pina, V. and Martí, C. (2012), "Using non‐mandatory performance measures in local governments", Baltic Journal of Management, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 416-428. https://doi.org/10.1108/17465261211272166Download as .RIS
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