Linking comprehensive performance assessment to the balanced scorecard: evidence from Hertfordshire County Council

Margaret Woods, Suzana Grubnic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the course of the last twenty years there has been a growing academic interest in performance management, particularly in respect of the evolution of new techniques and their resulting impact. One important theoretical development has been the emergence of multidimensional performance measurement models that are potentially applicable within the public sector. Empirically, academic researchers are increasingly supporting the use of such models as a way of improving public sector management and the effectiveness of service provision (Mayston, 1985; Pollitt, 1986; Bates and Brignall, 1993; and Massey, 1999). This paper seeks to add to the literature by using both theoretical and empirical evidence to argue that CPA, the external inspection tool used by the Audit Commission to evaluate local authority performance management, is a version of the Balanced Scorecard which, when adapted for internal use, may have beneficial effects. After demonstrating the parallels between the CPA framework and Kaplan and Norton's public sector Balanced Scorecard (BSC), we use a case study of the BSC based performance management system in Hertfordshire County Council to demonstrate the empirical linkages between a local scorecard and CPA. We conclude that CPA is based upon the BSC and has the potential to serve as a springboard for the evolution of local authority performance management systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-361
Number of pages19
JournalFinancial Accountability and Management
Issue number3
Early online date28 Jul 2008
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008


  • performance management
  • CPA
  • balanced scorecard


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