ABSTRACT

Benchmarking is a comparison between two data points, with one of the data points designated as the benchmark. It is common in the public sector to make internal comparisons, where departments compare their current performance results with their performance results in prior reporting periods.1 The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) refers to this form of internal benchmarking as process benchmarking, a system that provides the framework for continuous process improvement.2 Managers continually try to improve their service delivery performance rather than maintain the status quo, and they monitor their progress by looking at service delivery process improvement over time. Each time current performance is favorably compared to performance of the previous reporting period, it “raises the bar” for future standards. If there is no improvement over the prior period’s standard, the result is considered a static performance period. A static performance period is not considered failure; there may be good reasons for an improvement plateau.