Measuring fire service performance: a comparative study

J. Carvalho, M. Fernandes, V. Lambert, I. Lapsley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Purpose
    – The new public management (NPM) agenda is transforming the public sector in many countries. However, there have been criticisms of NPM, particularly over its emphasis on quantification, results orientation and the measurement of performance to the possible detriment of service delivery. The purpose of this paper is to examine an important public service – the fire service – in differing contexts: the “mature” NPM setting of the UK, and a “late adopter” of NPM – Portugal.

    Design/methodology/approach
    – This study is conducted by a combined methods approach. The principal focus of this study is on publicly available databases of performance indicators. The data are supported by additional material from operational officers in fire services, and from oversight bodies, obtained by interviews and by survey in Portugal.

    Findings
    – This comparative study reaffirms the potential for NPM solutions to public service management. In particular, there is a case for carefully targeted key performance indicators in Portuguese fire services.

    Originality/value
    – This paper makes an original contribution to ideas of NPM in action by focussing on performance measurement in different contexts. The comparative aspect of this paper is crucial as a means of assessing the portability of NPM ideas in different national settings.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)165-179
    Number of pages15
    JournalInternational Journal of Public Sector Management
    Volume19
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

    Keywords

    • Public administration
    • Fire services
    • Performance measures
    • United Kingdom
    • Portugal

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