International comparisons

Performance management and outcomes in third sector organisations: and international study (Sarah Smith)

We are currently seeking to develop an international project on management practices in the third sector. Using a survey tool developed by economists at LSE which has been shown successfully to collect information on management quality in the private sector, the project would look to collect evidence on management practices in not-for-profit organisations within the UK and other countries, including the US, Germany and France. Among the issues we are interested in exploring are: How do third sector organisations compare with those in the private sector in terms of performance management and talent management?  How do these compare across countries? And to what extent are management practices in the third sector linked to objective measures of success?

Pro-social behavior and the third sector in the World Values Survey (Sarah Smith)

Our project on pro-social behaviour did include an element of research on other countries, principally Germany and the US, but we can now substantially expand that. We intend to carry out an international comparison of pro-social behaviour across a number of countries using the World Values Survey. We will explore a number of indicators of pro-social behaviour that are in the survey including members of, and involvement in, voluntary organisations and attitudes to work and helping other people in the community. We will look for common patterns across socio-economic characteristics, as well as any systematic differences across countries. The latest wave (2005-06) collects information on sector of employment (i.e. private, public and not-for-profit), allowing us to explore the extent to which indicators of pro-social behaviour are systematically related to employment decisions across countries.

Contracting, law and third sector provision of public services in the EU (Tony Prosser, Paul Grout)

Most European countries have a long history of contracting both with commercial and with third sector providers for public services, and have a developed body of law governing this which is distinct from ordinary contract law, including, for example, public service concessions. The role of such law has also been a major EU concern recently, both on tendering requirements and application of competition law. The UK is only starting to develop such a body of law, having in the past relied either on administrative mechanisms or ordinary private contract law. We will ask: to what extent do different legal arrangements for procuring public services facilitate improved service delivery and public scrutiny of performance? We already have a good network of contacts in this area from an earlier FP6 project.