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Quality Improvement in European Public Services
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Quality Improvement in European Public Services
Concepts, Cases and Commentary

Edited by:
  • Christopher Pollitt - Public Management Institute, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  • Geert Bouckaert - Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

August 1995 | 208 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Since the late 1980s, the quality of public services has been a major focus of attention for politicians, managers, and citizens. Unfortunately, most of the material available on how to achieve quality is either set in private sector contexts or confined to a single country. Now, for the first time, Pollitt and Bouckaert portray quality improvement as part of a broader managerial and political strategy, not a set of narrow technical issues. This pioneering volume provides an overview of concepts and methodologies involved in the management of quality improvements and, secondly, offers a set of case studies to illustrate how quality improvements have been achieved, drawing lessons from a spectrum of services in a range of countries. For managers, administrators, and professionals in public services, as well as for academics, consultants, and students of public management, organization studies, this book is a must.

 
Introduction
 
PART ONE: DEFINITION AND OPERATIONALIZATION
Christopher Pollitt and Geert Bouckaert
Defining Quality
Geert Bouckaert
Measuring Quality
 
PART TWO: CASE STUDIES
Frans van Vught and Don F Westerheijden
Quality Measurement and Quality Assurance in European Higher Education
Sylvie Trosa
Quality in the French Public Service
Helmut Klages et al
Quality Improvement in German Local Government
Lucy Gaster
Quality Improvement in Local Service Contracts
Environmental Services in Harlow

 
Hellen Westlund
Quality in Swedish Higher Education
A Pilot Study

 
Richard Joss
Costing Non-Conformance at an NHS Hospital
A Pilot Study

 
Nico Mol
Quality Improvement in the Dutch Department of Defence
Stephen Hanney
Enhancing Quality in the Police Service
Leicestershire Constabulary

 
 
PART THREE: OVERVIEW
Christopher Pollitt
Improvement Strategies
Geert Bouckaert
Concluding Reflections

`Pollitt and Bouckaert have taken a European perspective. The benefit of [this] approach is that it can help illuminate different political and value stances towards the context within which public services operate and hence the agenda for quality improvement. For the UK reader, this is particularly well illustrated in Pollitt and Bouckaert's chapters - especially the discussion of German local government and quality management and assessment in European higher education.... [the] two closing chapters, which provide a strong analysis of quality improvement approaches drawing on the case studies' - Local Government Studies

`This book should be read widely. It has obvious relevance for scholars of public administration, especially those interested in the reform processes that have been reshaping (often radically) the public sector in the most industrialized democracies. It also should be read by practitioners responsible for implementing programs for quality improvements within their governments. Perhaps more than anyone else, this book should be required reading for political and administrative leaders who believe that implementing quality programs is a quick and easy way to produce positive change in the public sector, and that quality is a simple goal to identify, create and then measure. The analyses herein should disabuse officials of overly simplistic notions and enable them to understand the complexity of the concept of quality.... The several introductory chapters are particularly valuable as antidotes to the excessively facile assumptions about the capacity to generate quality in public services. The editors point to the number of alternative definitions of quality, and the number of actors involved in the production and evaluation of quality services. Pollitt and Bouckaert point out very clearly that quality is a multi-polar concept and that services that satisfy the producers of services may not satisfy customers, although vice versa is perhaps more likely. The chapters describing different national experiences in promoting quality contain important lessons extracted from central to subnational governments, and from policy areas as varied as defense, police and education.... The case studies... provide greater understanding of quality within the public sector and its role in shaping contemporary management.... this book presents unusually cogent examinations of the way the ideas of quality in the public sector have been developed and implemented, provoking healthy skepticism about the concept and a desire to pursue further ideas about how to improve public sector management' - Journal of Public Policy

`Following a successful series of seminars at Brunel University, the many issues relating to Quality Improvement in Public Services were documented and discussed in this text.... An excellent book, well worth reading' - The International Journal of Health Care and Quality Assurance

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