The complexities of performance measurement in the public sector : a case study of the City Auditor’s Integrity Unit



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The last two decades of public sector reform have ushered in a new paradigm of client-citizens expecting better governmental performance at lower costs. Two distinct, but not unconnected, forces have been at the heart of this transformation: the drive towards applying “New Public Management” (NPM) techniques in public sector administration, and the shift to a “Governance” view in rule making and political action. The City of Austin has been at the forefront of these movements, and The City Auditor’s Office (COA) rests at their nexus. This report is a study of the City Auditor Integrity Unit (CAIU), the investigative arm of COA, and more specifically, the CAIU’s system of performance measurement. The report explores the challenges of designing and using a performance measurement system within CAIU to achieve more socially optimal outcomes for the City of Austin. The analysis in the report draws on a number of theoretical perspectives, most significantly on Complex Adaptive Theory (CAS).