Content Discussion History

Benchmarking Examples and Proxy Measures

Internal Benchmarking Examples

  • The most iconic example of internal benchmarking is COMPSTAT.
    COMPSTAT is the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) accountability process. It is both a management philosophy and a tool for police department managers to identify spikes in crime using comparative statistics (or internal benchmarking). One of the main features of COMPSTAT is its relentless commitment to benchmarking current performance against the organization’s own past performance.
  • Internal Benchmarking is a very common practice among police departments. SeaStat is the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) accountability process. Like COMPSTAT, it is both a management philosophy and a tool for police department managers to identify spikes in crime using internal benchmarking. One of the main features of SeaStat is its commitment to benchmarking current performance against the past.


Common Services to Benchmark

  • Once an organization identifies a comparable cohort, external benchmarking can begin. The key is finding commonly measured services (and metrics) between and among the jurisdictions being compared. For example, if two government organizations collect trash AND measure pounds of trash collected, then they can compare themselves to one another. Here are some common services that most jurisdictions have in common:
  • Refuse Collection & Recycling
  • Police, Fire and Emergency Services
  • Street Maintenance
  • Building Inspection & Code Enforcement
  • Human Resources
  • Water & Sewer Services
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Public Education


Proxy Measures

This MeasureIs a Proxy forAnd can be found
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)Quality of Life, Standard of LivingDepartment of Commerce: Bureau of Economic Analysis has GDP by state & metropolitan statistical area
Unemployment RateEconomy, Labor MarketDepartment of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes regular updates to employment, unemployment and wage data.
Air Quality Index (AQI)Environmental QualityThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes Air Quality data by city and county.
Infant Deaths (Mortality)Maternal, Infant & Child HealthThe CDC publishes Linked Birth and Infant Death Data with links to local public health agencies
Obesity RatesHealth & Well-being of a communityThe CDC publishes Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity: Data, Trends and Maps which can be viewed at the state and city level for many cities
Homicide RatesPublic SafetyLocal jurisdictions are the best source for the most current crime data, but the FBI publishes annual reports.
Reading & Math Proficiency LevelsEducation QualityThe National Center for Education Statistics publishes proficiency scores on standardized tests for many participating jurisdictions.
General Fund Personnel and Operating Expenses per Capita, FTEs per 1,000 populationGovernment Operations & ManagementPersonnel Costs, Operating Costs, and FTE counts are usually available in government budget documents, and population is available through the US Census Bureau




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