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Benchmarking and Information Exchange Circles as Instruments of Implementing Regional Administrative Reform

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 31-12-2010
Multiregional reform processes typically suffer from the fact that regional  administrative and political units try their best in doing the reform work, but never know if their activities are really effective and what effect they really have. So sometimes a lot of efforts are made and a lot of staff capacity and money invested in projects with little effect. And whilst there is of course an exchange of information between the regions, this exchange is often unorganized and incomplete. So for many managers of regional institutions the question “how well are we really doing, compared with other institutions” is not yet solved. Also the Implementation of reforms once decided upon is not subject to a consequent follow up, which might go on for years and identify problems not solved in the initial reform approach and need further attention. In the private sector, numerous instruments have been invented and established to optimize such information- and learning processes. Some of the best known approaches are Benchmarking Information Exchange Circles. Such instruments have also been more and more introduced in the municipal and regional practice. German “Bertelsmann Foundation” for example started about 10 years ago numerous projects related to Benchmarking and information exchange in German municipalities. For example the performance of libraries, other cultural institutions, social services and so on was analyzed in the framework of information exchange circles. Those circles worked over years in very “hands on” and “down to earth” processes and provided the involved administrations with a lot of ideas for optimization of their services. KPI in the same time developed a process to follow up reform processes, identify bottlenecks and malperformance and elaborate “revolving” reform strategies. It seems important to design such models in a way that makes it sure that a) learning from each other can be established b) “important” and “less important” services can be distinct c) optimization of “important” services or important quality elements can be prioritized d) a long-term feedback model makes the progress (as well as unsolved problems) clearly visible e) the cost efficiency of reform measures is safeguarded. The article demonstrates an easy-to use methodology and the example of an 8-year ptimization process in a regionalized German institution with 6 regional offices. With over 80 regions and federal services / agencies running numerous regional offices and, on the other hand, a large number of middle size municipalities, the approach would be suitable to the RF too.
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