Performance measurement of community education services: A case study of public service delivery in Forth Ward, Edinburgh
Fejszes, V. (2017) Performance measurement of community education services: A case study of public service delivery in Forth Ward, Edinburgh, no. 338.
Performance measurement within public services is a key feature of the literature but at ward level it has been an under-studied concept. This thesis presents research within a ward with deprived and affluent areas, focusing on community education service provision and the part performance measurement plays in it. The literature shows the importance of community education services in deprived areas to empower residents. They have the potential to impact positively on the lives of individuals and communities. Performance measurement is meant to ensure the delivery of value for money, quality services but it can instead be a barrier. In subjective areas like community education, measurement is difficult. The primary research was conducted in a qualitative case study. Data collection involved semi-structured interviews with ward stakeholders. The key findings identify constraints surrounding performance measurement in subjective services. While there was increased emphasis on measuring performance the value of such procedures was questioned. Performance measurement practices did not necessarily lead to improved service outcomes. The findings uncovered many specifics concerning both the process and the context. As community education was credited with reducing public service dependence by supporting self-reliance, dedication to such services was seen as necessary. Changes were needed, in performance measurement and more broadly, as there was a risk that the sector would not be able to operate soon. Despite the various representative bodies, effective local input, which was needed, had yet to be achieved. The findings draw out real issues with potentially serious implications. They highlight how the public service provision might be improved at the most micro level of democracy, the ward, where citizens experience first-hand public services. The research could therefore be of value to policy-makers and those responsible for service provision.