Benchmark management of central government

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award


Management of the Public Administration Benchmark focuses on three subjects. The first two subjects concern the quantity and optimal (most efficient and effective) organisation and management of Central Government. The third subject consists of several methods to reduce the burden of internal rules and instructions. The aim of the benchmark is to change the mindset, culture and procedures of central government.

Whilst each of the Ministries and their departments act more or less as independent business units at present, the benchmark’s purpose is to stimulate them towards operating as a unity. The benchmark is based on three pillars:

  • Gaining awareness throughout the central government and support at top level management;
  • Finding common ground for the Ministries;
  • Connecting the Ministries into one learning community in order to optimise the performance of central government as a unit (efficiency).

The benchmark has been successfully performed due to three success factors. The first success factor is the focus of the benchmark on best practices and possibilities for improvement for all participants instead of naming and shaming. The second is the sponsorship of two secretarygenerals who favour the formation of learning organisations. The third success factor is the design of the benchmark in close collaboration with all participants (all departments in the Netherlands).

A small benchmark team acted as moderators, performed the analysis and produced reports. The close collaboration of all participants led to a high level of trust, and real transparency regarding practical and learning experiences. Several results were achieved during the process and at the closure of the benchmark. They vary from a more profound understanding of the burden of internal rules to proven practices and practical experience to reduce this burden. The benchmark has proven to be a stimulus for specific change. Projects to reduce the burden have been started and the formation of shared service centres for all departments has gained support.

Due to enhanced transparency, top managers are now well aware of the practical situations in their organisations. Changes and interventions are increasingly based on figures presented in the benchmark reports. The figures also give cause for discussion about standards concerning the number of employees necessary and the level of service needed.

Award info
Award category: public service delivery
Award type: submission
Award year: 2009
Project type
Sector: Public administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reform
Type of activity: e-government
Keywords: Benchmarking, effectiveness, efficiency, learning network, organisational culture, transparency
Short English description: The aim of the benchmark is to change the mindset, culture and procedures of central government.
Further information
Organisation: The Central Government Reform Programme (het programma Vernieuwing RijksDienst); Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK)
Other applicants:
Level of government: national level
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved:
Country: Netherlands
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:

Benchmark management of central government (52.0779637, 4.3204036)
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