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What is the best way to identify another government to benchmark ourselves against?

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Many government organizations want to know what other comparable jurisdictions are doing, because they want to see their performance in context. However, finding a perfect match is nearly impossible, so the first place to start is internal benchmarking: comparing you to yourself. Once you’ve established a practice of always outperforming yourself, we recommend identifying an external “cousin” with a strong relationship to one specific service area that you wish to compare. When choosing the right “cousin,” consider the following factors:

Population -  Population is a simple word with a lot of embedded complexity. Rather than focusing on one population statistic like volume, density or demographics, look for jurisdictions with a number of other similar factors such as geographic landscape, type of transportation infrastructure (i.e., highways versus subways), or cities with comparable budget expenditures.

Mobility - Mobility is a key driver of a jurisdiction's economy and population. To find meaningful comparisons, look beyond similar transportation systems or networks to consider additional factors such as geopolitical boundaries, congestion, and urban sprawl.

Infrastructure - Variations in infrastructure such as housing stock, transportation networks, and technology availability create important differences in the way services get delivered and should be taken into account when comparing one place to another.

Politics and Governance - Jurisdictions have varying governance and service delivery models. Look for similarly structured communities.

For more information on benchmarking, read the GovEx publication “Benchmarking.”

Answered January 24, 2016