Benchmarking is the comparison of business processes and performance with those of other organisations in order to see how well you are doing in relation to others. 

Also known as

The tool

Benchmarking may:

  • Be used as a learning tool, and may be used to identify areas for business improvement.
  • Help you open up to new ideas and approaches.
  • Provide reassurance that processes already meet accepted standards for your sector.


Typical things to benchmark are quality, time and cost.

You may wish to compare with organisations with similar characteristics, for example other rural authorities, or with ‘best in class’ organisations.

You may also wish to carry out ‘longitudinal benchmarking’, where you compare your own performance over time.

Why use it

Benchmarking can be used to spread best practice within and between organisations. To help with the latter, a range of benchmarking organisations and frameworks exist. These include the Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF).

  • The Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF) brings together a range of information about the performance of Scottish councils.
  • The LGBF has published benchmarking data for a range of indicators annually since 2010-11.
  • The LGBF indicators cover seven service areas that, together, account for over 60% of local government spending. These service areas are:
    • Adult social care
    • Children
    • Corporate
    • Culture and leisure
    • Environmental
    • Housing and economic development.


Other benchmarking organisations include SOCITM, APSE, CIPFA.

When to use it

How to use it



Similar to

Use in conjunction with

Complemented by


Additional information