Strategy and Service Improvement in Local Government, 2002-2003


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

A large literature suggests that strategic management makes a difference to the performance of firms in the private sector. Little attention has been devoted, by contrast, to the impact of organisational strategies in the public sector, despite the recent concern by policy makers and academics to identify potential sources of public service improvement. This research project aimed to develop and apply strategic management models to public organisations, and to test empirically whether strategy content and processes have significant effects on performance. The objectives stated in the original application were to:apply strategic management theory to the processes and performance of local authoritiesexplain different strategic approaches to 'Best Value' performance assessment in Welsh local governmentcreate datasets on the strategy processes and performance of local authoritiesprovide the first empirical evidence on the impact of strategic management on performance in the public sector develop new strategy models that are relevant to public organisationsAll but one of these objectives were achieved; the second objective became impossible to pursue when 'Best Value' was abolished in Wales in 2002. This in fact illustrates one of the main themes of the research; the significance of the external environment for strategy and performance in the public sector. In addition to the four remaining objectives, four extra aims have also been achieved:an exploration of the effects of strategy content as well as strategy processesan analysis of the impact of the socio-economic and regulatory context on local service performancean evaluation of the relationship between strategy and performance in not only Welsh but also English local authoritiesan examination of the effects of not only strategy formulation but also strategy implementation on service performanceFurther information about the project may be found on the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Strategy and Performance in Local Government grant award web page.

Main Topics:

The data comprise responses to two questionnaires on strategy formulation and strategy implementation, which were distributed to local government service providers in Wales. The questionnaires covered: strategy-making; content of existing strategies; autonomy of services; peformance of and factors affecting the service; implementing strategies; socio-economic, internal and external political and financial contexts affecting the service. Alongside the questionnaire responses are a number of variables covering education provision and standards, local government services, crime, road safety, electoral data, population distribution and other socio-economic indicators, compiled from secondary data sources (see Data Sources section below).

Purposive selection/case studies

Postal survey

Compilation or synthesis of existing material

Metadata Access
Creator Boyne, G. A., Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School; Andrews, R. William, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 2007
Funding Reference Economic and Social Research Council
Rights Copyright R.W. Andrews and G.A. Boyne; <p>The Data Collection is available to UK Data Service registered users subject to the <a href="" target="_blank">End User Licence Agreement</a>.</p><p>Commercial use of the data requires approval from the data owner or their nominee. The UK Data Service will contact you.</p>
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Numeric
Discipline Economics; Social and Behavioural Sciences
Spatial Coverage Wales