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Ask Our Experts: choosing the right KPIs in measuring public services performance


Q: What is important in measuring public services performance?

A: Measuring performance in public sector organizations has many benefits. It allows managers to set up mechanisms to evaluate, control, budget, motivate, promote, celebrate, and improve their strategic decision-making.

The core use and benefit of setting up performance measurement systems in public sector organizations are: Prognosis, Diagnosis, Motivation, Legitimation, and Learning and Improvement.

In layman’s terms, public sector key performance indicators (KPIs) serve two important purposes: 1. Report important information to citizens. 2. Provide information that directly describes the government’s activities.

Therefore, without understanding and evaluating KPIs, governments cannot fulfill their commitment to responsible spending and transparency, and the public cannot verify if the required services are being adequately performed.

In most organizational structures, KPIs have two notable attributes: 1. They determine what is important to the success of the organization. 2. They indicate the expected level of performance by attaching a target to each metric.

Last but not least, how do we identify the most meaningful public sector KPIs?

  1. Identify the key value drivers (research studies). This refers to identifying all stakeholders categories properly (internal and external) and conducting a stakeholders analysis to reveal what aspects are of interest. What matters most for citizens in terms of public transportation? Is it the arrival on time? The frequency of arrivals? How about the employees–what do they think is critical for the operations? What data is needed for optimizing processes and adjusting working flows to deliver the best customer experience? 
  2. Choose a balanced set of KPIs (efficiency versus effectiveness, process versus impact measurement, quality versus quantity). KPIs should be used in context and in correlation. For this reason, a successful scorecard or dashboard looks into performance from various perspectives.
  3. Balance between simple and complex measurements. While many KPIs that capture impact may be survey-based and require significant resources for data collection and reporting, some KPIs can be tracked in real-life with the help of digitalization and enable proactive management.

Read more: KPI data visualization: key benefits, popular formats, and design principles

Abdulrahman Jelani

Business Management Consultant

The KPI Institute

  • Solid background in working with process and performance management.
  • Former consultant for the public sector – Ministry of Community Development – UAE
  • Former business excellence and process reengineer at Zain telecom – Jordan
  • Passion for knowledge sharing and supporting the growth and improvement of organizations and individuals.


This feature was first published in the Ask Our Experts section of Performance Magazine Issue No. 24, 2023—Public Sector Edition. It offers deep dives and practical insights into the public sector’s performance in the post-pandemic era. To download the free digital copy, visit the TKI Marketplace. You can also purchase an additional printed copy via Amazon.

Practitioner Interview: Mohamed Aamir Hussain


HussainIn 2017, the Performance Magazine editorial team interviewed Mohamed Aamir Hussain, Business Performance Manager at Saudi Dolomite Company Ltd, Saudi Arabia. His thoughts and views on Performance Management are detailed below.

I think the main challenge in performance management today is making sure that your feedback system and your performance audit gives you the chance to act upon your findings and results immediately.

Expert Interview – Luana Patacconi, Organisational Development Manager, European Space Agency, Netherlands


Luana PatacconiFor the report Performance Management in 2013, The KPI Institute conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with practitioners, academics and consultants from 18 countries, who offered a detailed image on the state of Performance Management as a discipline.

Luana Patacconi, Organisational Development Manager at the European Space Agency, Netherlands, was one of the practitioners that The KPI Institute interviewed.


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