Benchmarking Our Legislatures

Article 10 / 13 , Vol 33 No 3 (Autumn)

Benchmarking Our Legislatures

Benchmarking is a helpful tool often used by organizations to compare their business processes and practices with competitors or best in class, giving them something external against which to measure performance. As the Senate Administration continues to develop its performance measurement framework, directors are encouraged to include external benchmarks in their performance indicators to provide comparative measured. Benchmarks are categorized in multiple ways, which can be further characterized as qualitative or quantitative. This article will provide examples of qualitative and quantitative benchmarks in the parliamentary context.

To establish qualitative benchmarks for improvement purposes, one must first identify what the elements of success or effectiveness look like, i.e., a profile of best practices against which to compare. Quantitative benchmarking looks mainly at the numbers or ratios of an operation. To improve a process or operation, it is best to have measures that indicate where improvements can be made, so both types of benchmarks often prove useful.