Association for Public Service Excellence
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Performance networks

About the model

APSE performance networks is a mature performance measurement and benchmarking service for local authority front-line services which has been providing robust and effective performance information since 1999. APSE performance networks is the largest voluntary public sector benchmarking service across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Used by over 250 local authorities it leads the way in local government benchmarking. 

Local authority services are being put under increased scrutiny and challenge not least as a result of the Localism Act in England, but also as a result of the different performance management regimes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Without reliable service performance data which is comparable against peers, it will be difficult for service providers to be able to demonstrate best value in an environment in which finances and resources are being squeezed due to the continued reduction in funding from Government. The ability to compare performance and to demonstrate real value has never been more important. APSE performance networks is a reliable and trusted source of performance information on the cost, quality and effectiveness of your services and is widely used by local authorities in:

  • demonstrating the competitiveness of services
  • providing evidence of value for money as budgets are cut
  • sharing efficiency examples between councils
  • supporting decision-making about the future design and delivery of public services; and
  • continuing to support collaboration in developing and sharing good practice.

Benchmarking across 14 front line service areas UK wide

APSE performance networks provides a benchmarking service across a range of key front line services. Local authorities can either join for individual services or for all 14 services.

  1. Building cleaning
  2. Building maintenance
  3. Civic, cultural and community venues
  4. Culture, leisure and sport
  5. Education catering
  6. Highways and winter maintenance
  7. Other (civic and commercial) catering
  8. Parks, open spaces and horticultural services
  9. Refuse collection
  10. Sports and leisure facility management
  11. Street cleansing
  12. Street lighting
  13. Transport operations and vehicle maintenance
  14. Welfare catering


Performance Networks is a practitioner based model which uses a ‘‘like-for-like’’ system to group authorities. Service profiles draw on factors such as local policy; demography and size and type of operation to form a series of Key and Secondary Drivers.

The ‘like-for-like’ system draws on factors such as local policy, demography and size and type of operation to form a series of driver scores. The family groups are formed when participating authorities generate an overall key driver score within the same range.

An example of the drivers used to calculate the overall key driver score for the sports and leisure facility management model are shown below:

  • Facility type/size
  • Location characteristics
  • Competition
  • Transport
  • Car parking
  • Social pricing
  • Market pricing
  • Peak programming
  • Off peak programming
  • Investment

Find out more

Please contact Cheryl Walker at the APSE office for further information on joining performance networks. Alternatively, further information is available of the performance networks webpages.

Promoting excellence in public services

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit unincorporated association working with over 300 councils throughout the UK. Promoting excellence in public services, APSE is the foremost specialist in local authority frontline services, hosting a network for frontline service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, cemeteries and crematorium, environmental health, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.




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