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Informing effective performance management

Wright, Gillian H. and Taylor, W. Andrew (2001) Informing effective performance management. ISSN 1475-1283

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Performance Management is by no means a new concept in public services. Rather, it is the current initiative to achieve the longstanding quest for accountability and performance improvement, which began in the 1980s. We present the history of performance management and suggest an agenda for performance management in the context of partnerships and alliances, quality and information management. We propose that performance management is most effective when objectives beyond operational variables are incorporated, that they are based on an understanding of strategic effectiveness and underpinned by appropriate information systems. This paper addresses the historical context and culture of performance management in a public service (health and social care), determines the partnership and quality management challenges of performance management and the relationship of performance improvement with information strategy. Partnership working is considered as a form of strategic alliance. The need for service quality management and the notion of excellence are considered in the context of healthcare services. We consider the challenges of Management Information Systems in a rapidly changing Healthcare sector, which in the last ten years, has been trying to transform from a product focused, protected professional service to a highly visible and increasingly consumerist market sector (Linial, 1995). These themes are brought together to consider how alliances, quality, and information are the three elements of successful performance management of effective public services. This challenge that has perplexed providers for two decades and is likely to persist, despite changes in governments and policies. This paper presents a framework for effective performance management. It is based on case studies of alliances between health and social services to deliver partnership working for improved service delivery and identification of user requirements and information systems effectiveness.

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