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Article

Mik Wisniewski

The UK Government’s Best Value initiative is intended to ensure that local authorities provide best value in service delivery and emphasises the importance of ensuring a…

Abstract

The UK Government’s Best Value initiative is intended to ensure that local authorities provide best value in service delivery and emphasises the importance of ensuring a clear customer/citizen focus across all services. Local authorities are already using a variety of methods to capture the voice of the customer, with customer surveys being one of the most popular. Such surveys, however, have tended to focus solely on customers’ perceptions of services and not their expectations. This paper presents the results of using an adapted SERVQUAL approach across a range of Scottish council services. The results of the studies will be discussed, the use of SERVQUAL results by service managers reviewed and the contribution of SERVQUAL to continuous improvement assessed.

Details

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, vol. 11 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-4529

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Abstract

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article

Mik Wisniewski and Snjólfur Ólafsson

Public sector organisations, such as local authorities, are increasingly under pressure not only to improve their performance but also to be able to demonstrate such…

Abstract

Public sector organisations, such as local authorities, are increasingly under pressure not only to improve their performance but also to be able to demonstrate such improvement through effective performance measurement. An increasing number are turning to the balanced scorecard as a way of responding to such pressures and challenges. This paper examines the attraction of the scorecard to local authorities and uses the authors’ experiences with a number of authorities and other public sector organisations to examine the challenges and difficulties of adopting a scorecard approach.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 53 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Article

Mik Wisniewski and Derek Stewart

With continuing pressures for transparency, accountability and value for money, measuring the performance of public sector organisations is attracting increasing academic…

Abstract

With continuing pressures for transparency, accountability and value for money, measuring the performance of public sector organisations is attracting increasing academic and management attention. However, little attention appears to have been paid to the performance information needs of stakeholders. This paper describes work with a number of Scottish local authority services to develop an information portfolio that would meet the performance measurement needs of diverse stakeholders. Overall, the approach was found to be useful, allowing services to identify the key stakeholders with an interest in their service's performance, the judgements about performance that each group wanted to make and the key information that stakeholders would need.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article

Mik Wisniewski and Hazel Wisniewski

The issues surrounding the measurement and provision of service quality in a health care setting are becoming increasingly important to nursing. This research study aims…

Abstract

Purpose

The issues surrounding the measurement and provision of service quality in a health care setting are becoming increasingly important to nursing. This research study aims to apply the SERVQUAL measurement instrument in a Scottish colposcopy clinic.

Design/methodology/approach

The study involved adapting the SERVQUAL instrument to the colposcopy setting and asking a sample of patients to complete the questionnaire. Patient expectations of service were obtained on first attendance at the clinic. Patient perceptions of service received were obtained on completion of treatment. Perceptions and expectations are then compared to identify where the largest service gaps exist.

Findings

Although patient satisfaction with the overall service provided was generally high, the instrument provided evidence of where specific service improvements were needed. The largest service quality gap was for the reliability of service. The research also revealed the need for improved premises.

Research limitations/implications

Although the study has a limited sample size, it does appear that the SERVQUAL instrument has a useful diagnostic role to play in assessing and monitoring service quality in nursing, enabling nursing staff to identify where improvements are needed from the patients' perspective. The study has raised a number of issues which would form the basis for useful further research.

Practical implications

Service quality from the patients' perspective should be routinely monitored and assessed.

Originality/value

The findings should be useful to nursing staff seeking to assess, and improve, service quality.

Details

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0952-6862

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Article

Mike Donnelly, Mik Wisniewski, John F. Dalrymple and Adrienne C. Curry

Local government in the UK is not immune from the pressures drivingsuccessful organizations towards top quality services that delight theircustomers. Outlines some of the…

Abstract

Local government in the UK is not immune from the pressures driving successful organizations towards top quality services that delight their customers. Outlines some of the special features of local government service provision and the way in which these might affect the assessment of service quality. Highlights some of the limitations of conventional customer satisfaction surveys which lead the authors to consider the SERVQUAL approach. This method, which has been the subject of considerable academic scrutiny and extensive private sector service application, merits serious consideration by local government managers as a robust, adaptable, diagnostic instrument to measure service quality.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 8 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article

Rodney McAdam, Tim Walker and Shirley‐Ann Hazlett

The aim of this paper is to investigate the links and relationships between strategy and operations in local government improvement efforts under the umbrella of the Local…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to investigate the links and relationships between strategy and operations in local government improvement efforts under the umbrella of the Local Government Modernisation Agenda (LGMA) in England. More specifically, it explores the implementation of structured change methods and performance measurement and management initiatives that claim to have a linked strategic and operational focus through to stakeholder impact.

Design/methodology/approach

This research adopts an interpretive multiple case approach (n=5), using in‐depth semi‐structured interviews and focus groups, as well as substantive archive information.

Findings

The structured integration of strategic level policy‐setting and its associated operational level activity in local authorities is often obscure and lacking in cohesiveness. Performance measurement and management at the strategic level is, for the most part, driven by emerging legislation and the need for compliance rather than improving service effectiveness. This has led to discontinuity, delays in implementing policy, and criticism of performance measures from service delivery staff.

Practical implications

There is a need for improved integration across the strategic‐operational divide, which requires improved understanding and translation approaches. Methods adopted from other sectors should be assessed critically and tailored to suit this need rather than adopting an off‐the‐shelf provision.

Originality/value

There is a paucity of in‐depth studies relating to performance measurement and management across the strategic‐operational span in the public sector in general, and local government in particular. Increased understanding in this area is of critical importance in relation to implementing effectively the current and future modernisation and reform initiatives.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article

Belinda Luke, Kate Kearins and Martie‐Louise Verreynne

This article aims to consider success in terms of the financial returns and risks of new public management (NPM) in state‐owned enterprises (SOEs).

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to consider success in terms of the financial returns and risks of new public management (NPM) in state‐owned enterprises (SOEs).

Design/methodology/approach

Financial returns of New Zealand SOEs were examined through a review of their annual reports over a five‐year period. Dimensions of risk were examined through interviews conducted in two phases over a two‐year period with senior executives from 12 of the (then) 17 SOEs operating in New Zealand.

Findings

Findings indicate the potential for SOEs to operate as profitable government investments, with clear support for positive financial returns under NPM. However, variations noted within individual SOEs also indicate that profitable and commercial operations may not be possible in all cases. An examination of the risks associated with SOEs' operations reveals a number of dimensions of risk, encompassing financial, political (including regulatory), reputational, and public accountability aspects.

Practical implications

There is a need for an enhanced awareness on the part of internal and external stakeholders (such as the government and general public) of the risks SOEs face in pursuing higher levels of profitability. Also required, is a more acute understanding on the part of internal and external stakeholders (e.g. government and the public) of the need for SOEs to manage the range of risks identified, given the potentially delicate balance between risk and return.

Originality/value

While previous studies have considered the financial returns of SOEs, or the risks faced by the public sector in terms of accountability, few have addressed the two issues collectively in a single context.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article

Mik Wisniewski and Derek Stewart

The new Labour Government elected in the UK in 1997 has a declared commitment to the modernisation of local government and has proposed radical change to the way councils…

Abstract

The new Labour Government elected in the UK in 1997 has a declared commitment to the modernisation of local government and has proposed radical change to the way councils plan and deliver local services through best value in service delivery. Best value emphasises the role of sound management as a means of delivering service improvements. Best value in Scotland has a core requirement for every council to develop an effective performance management and planning (PMP) framework. The Accounts Commission and Audit Scotland have developed a detailed audit approach to assess and support each council’s progress in developing and improving its PMP framework. The audit specified sets out the key features of a best value service grouped under ten criteria, requires each council service being audited to critically assess their current performance, and requires each service to implement performance improvements that are necessary to deliver best value services. The key findings from the first audit are presented together with an evaluation of councils’ reactions to the audit and an assessment of the contribution of the audit to continuous improvement in Scottish local government.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 14 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article

Michael McFadden and Toni‐Lee Porter

The purpose of this paper is to assess the social impact, i.e. the estimated return to the Australian community, of Australian Federal Police (AFP) drug law enforcement…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the social impact, i.e. the estimated return to the Australian community, of Australian Federal Police (AFP) drug law enforcement effort in general and the relative success of specific policy initiatives.

Design/methodology/approach

Benefit‐cost analysis (BCA) was employed in the assessment of 2,716 drug investigations that took place between 2000 and 2005. Costs associated with the Australian Customs Service, the legal process and prisons were included. Benefits related to the economic estimate of reduced harm in terms of death and injury, crime, reduced productivity, and pain and suffering associated with the use of illicit drugs.

Findings

The results suggest that the Australian community receives $5.80 of benefit in terms of potential harm avoided for every dollar invested in drug law enforcement. Specific policy initiatives were found to result in higher than average returns: investigations involving domestic and international partners ($6.00 and $9.20 respectively), an emphasis on serious and complex crime ($9.20), and intelligence‐led policing ($7.90).

Research limitation/implications

The estimation of economic benefits is the most contentious area of the study. The AFP is undertaking a review of its estimation of benefits.

Originality/value

The results suggest that AFP drug law enforcement provides a positive contribution to the wellbeing of the Australian community. Furthermore, the findings indicate that specific drug law enforcement initiatives enhance the relative effectiveness of drug law enforcement in Australia. The study also provides an example to other public sector agencies of the use of BCA to determine the social impact of their policies.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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