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The purpose of the South Carolina Municipal Benchmarking Project is to provide local government managers a forum to share best practices and ultimately serve as a catalyst for service delivery improvements. The project has a multi-pronged approach for helping municipalities achieve this goal - sharing performance measurement data, service committee meetings where department managers discuss service delivery challenges and best practices, and targeted research and analysis.

Since the project's inception in 1996, participants have collected performance measurement information in the key municipal areas of police, fire, and sanitation. In 2001, parks and recreation was added as a fourth service area. To learn more about the history of the project, please visit the Process Model page. Two of the cornerstones of this benchmarking effort are the standardized data collection methodologies and the balanced set of performance measures. A majority of the performance data are collected by the participating departments through detailed data collection forms and then the data are validated through an extensive data cleaning process.

The efficiency measures included in the project are calculated using an indirect costing model, developed by a committee of finance directors, that uses generally accepted cost allocation factors. One of the critical type of measures identified by the Steering Committee during the pilot phase of the project was effectiveness or quality measures. The city managers and administrators who serve on the Committee realized the importance of creating a benchmarking system that included both efficiency and effectiveness measures. The Institute for Public Service and Policy Research's Survey Research Lab administers a standardized citizen satisfaction telephone survey on a biennial basis to determine the citizens' level of satisfaction with municipal services.

If you are interested in learning more about this benchmarking initiative, please contact one of the following project directors:

Anna Berger
Institute for Public Service and Policy Research
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
(803) 777-3455
aberger@sc.edu


Bill Tomes
Institute for Public Service and Policy Research
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
(803) 777-9788
Bill-Tomes@sc.edu

 

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