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Corporate performance management system in a devolved UK governmental organisation: A case study

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This paper is a case study exploring the design of a new corporate performance management (CPM) system for a UK government agency. The UK Environment Agency employs 11,000 staff in more than 40 discrete management units (comprising hierarchical, geographic and functional divisions). It is pursuing a strongly devolved approach to the development of strategic and operational plans. This paper describes work done by the agency to introduce a novel corporate management system based on best practice third-generation balanced scorecard processes. The case describes how this system was deployed at the corporate level and then within directorate, regional and area level units. The work in total involved the design and implementation of 44 balanced scorecards across the organisation. Within this framework, the new CPM system was positioned as the key mechanism of control for the entire organisation. The CPM is, however, taking different forms across the organisation, reflecting the differences in balance between management and strategic control priorities faced by different management groups. This paper explores the reasons the agency undertook the redesign of the CPM system, and looks at the design approach used to develop a system of control compatible with the needs of the organisation's devolved business units. The paper reports that the experience to date has been positive, and concludes with recommendations on future areas of research and ways to approach the issue of measure selection and use within complex devolved organisations.
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Keywords: Business performance; Case studies; Government agencies; Performance management; United Kingdom

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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