Unlocking Public Value

A New Model For Achieving High Performance In Public Service Organizations

by Martin Cole , Greg Parston

Number of pages: 208

Publisher: Wiley

BBB Library: Politics and Public Affairs

ISBN: 978-0471959458

About the Authors

Martin Cole : MARTIN COLE is Group Chief Executive of Accenture's Government operating group.


Greg Parston : He is Director of the Accenture Institute for Public Service Value.


Editorial Review

In Unlocking Public Value, Marty Cole and Greg Parston offer public services practitioners a unique tool to help them capture the mix of goals or outcomes, some reflecting local, some global, concerns, and measure performance in attaining these outcomes. Providing a framework and step-by-step process for defining these outcomes is one of the key achievements of the book. Since nearly all meaningful outcomes come at a cost to taxpayers, the measuring of outcomes occurs in the context of tracking not just costs, but cost-effectiveness as well.

Books on Related Topics

Wisdom to Share

Developing a Public Service Value outcome model for a public service organization is a multistep process that starts with defining the building blocks, moving to identifying, filtering, and weighting outcomes and then to identifying, filtering, and weighting metrics.

The underlying Public Service Value labor outcome model reflects the services provided by most of the labor agencies, including services such as job matching, training, and benefits administration.

The Public Service Value methodology can be used to focus public managers' attention on those policies or choices that will have the greatest impact on their organizations' ability to achieve its intended outcomes, such as providing insurance coverage or medical rehabilitation.

Using the Public Service Value approach can provide an organization with a fresh window to evaluate its performance.

The strength of the Public Service Value methodology is its ability to demonstrate whether an organization is doing better or worse than in other years, and whether its performance in a given year is better than its average performance over time.

The Public Service Value performance matrix creates a baseline for comparing the performance of a public service organization by examining relative change over time. It does not indicate whether an organization on its own is performing well or poorly in absolute terms.

The Public Service Value performance matrix plots relative rather than absolute scores. As such, the scores may be used to identify performance trends and changes and to compare any one year's performance with average performance over time.

The concept of a capital charge on the organization's asset base comes from the notion of opportunity cost. If a public service organization is holding assets, it is holding onto resources that could hypothetically be used for other public services.

Cost-effectiveness forces public managers to look beyond mere costs to the rate of change (increase or decrease) of costs compared to the rate of change in outcomes.

By looking at cost-effectiveness as a ratio of outcomes produced to resources employed, the Public Service Value Model changes the focus from merely evaluating costs to evaluating costs vis-à-vis outcomes produced.

The Public Service Value methodology enables public managers to view cost-effectiveness in terms of the social return they are getting on their assets.

The Public Service Value Model defines cost-effectiveness as the outcomes that an organization has achieved against the cost incurred, or the ratio of outcomes generated to the amount of resources consumed/employed in producing or delivering outcomes.

Essentially, cost-effectiveness measures the social return on public investment.

An important distinction between public managers and private sector managers is that public managers do not usually try to measure how well they use assets to generate profit. Instead they are interested in measuring the costs incurred to generate social return on taxpayers' money.