• Office cake consumption in the UK: an exploration of its characteristics and associated attitudes among office workers

      Flannery, Orla; Fallows, Stephen; Walker, Louise (University of Chester, 2017-08)
      Objective: The present study explored the characteristics of office cake (OC) consumption and the attitudes of UK-based office workers towards it, to gain insight into the effects of OC consumption on workplace health promotion programmes (WHPPs). Design: A cross-sectional, self-administered online survey based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Setting: The UK, between 1st and 31st May 2017. Subjects: Office workers (n=940), n=368 (39.3%) male, aged ≥18yrs Results: Two thirds of respondents ate OC at least once/week and OC was available in most workplaces up to five times/week. Respondents reported both positive, morale-boosting and negative, weight- and diet-related consequences of OC consumption and identified aspects of OC availability and display that increased consumption. Nearly all (94.8%) respondents thought the ideal OC frequency was once/week or less but only 36.1% said they would support an initiative to reduce OC consumption. Gender and age significantly affected attitudes and behaviour but not the amount eaten. Conclusion: OC consumption has characteristics which influence the workplace eating environment and eating behaviour. Attitudes towards OC vary widely and are significantly affected by gender and AG. WHPP designers should recognise the existing gender and age profile. Use of choice architectural techniques to effect environmental change might be useful in reducing OC consumption.
    • 'Official' recognition and effective lay Ministry in the Diocese of Chelmsford

      Lloyd, Shelia (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 1999-10)
      The dissertation aims to explore the value lay people in the Church of England today attach to "official" recognition in encouraging them to exercise a ministry. The author's own experience both of parish ministry and tutoring a diocesan course of Christian education convinced her that there was a wealth of gifts amongst lay people which was in danger of being unrecognised or at least seriously undervalued. Three factors appeared particularly significant: firstly the lack of any universal recognition for lay ministry apart from Readers; secondly the perception of a lay/clerical divide. Despite the biblical picture of the church as a body with many equal but different parts, clergy have been seen as the paid professionals and laity as the amateur volunteers. Yet at parochial level the laity, mostly unlicensed, have taken a significant role in the running of the local church and its outreach to the community; Thirdly the rapid changes in contemporary postmodern society. Most lay people are now used to role definition, recognition, and job specification in secular employment. Moreover changing patterns in both family life and the employment field have started a revolution, in consequence of which a vast army of lay women is rapidly disappearing from 'active service1 in the church. This dissertation relies heavily on unstructured interviews with a number of past students from the Chelmsford Diocesan Course in Christian Studies for which the author was a senior tutor. To balance these the author also interviewed lay people from her own church who had not undertaken this course. The aim was to focus on the perceptions of lay people themselves. The dissertation also draws on research material from a follow-up survey of CCS students and information about a range of current diocesan schemes of lay training as well as studying current literature and thinking on this subject. The research found that certain common issues arose from my interviews. Lay people valued highly both the "official" recognition of a formal diocesan scheme and the informal affirmation of their role and gifts by clergy within their local church. They also viewed lay education as foundational to any ministry, both stimulating it and giving confidence to exercise it. In considering this lay perspective and also taking into account Scriptural tradition, the contemporary cultural context, and the current diversity of diocesan practices, the dissertation makes a case for: appropriate training and commissioning of all confirmed church members as disciples called to Christian service; national recognition of lay pastoral ministry in the local church; a reformed permanent diaconate incorporating many who currently exercise a ministry as Readers, Non-Stipendiary Ministers and Ordained Local Ministers.
    • Optimization Methods and Applications on problem solving with MATLAB in the presence of Randomness

      Antonopoulou, Dimitra; Taylor, Daniel (University of Chester, 2017-10-07)
      A review of iterative methods used to nd optimal solutions to large sparse linear systems including methods based on line search descent algorithms and Krylov subspace methods. We also detail how to use the MATLAB optimization toolbox to solve a variety of optimization problems including linear and non-linear problems in Chapter 2. A review of the classical Travelling Salesman Problem (TSP) is provided in Chapter 3 with examples of solved problems. In Chapter 4 we used a MATLAB program to investigate the effect that randomness has on a system of ODE's namely the equation of a harmonic pendulum, we demonstrate these effects with a number of plots in the phase-plane and with respect to the time t.
    • Organisational impact of developing reablement services

      Webb, Paul; Wong, Philip (University of Chester, 2010)
      Under the Community Act, Local Authorities have a legal responsibility to provide an assessment of need to people that require assistance and subsequently commission services that will meet the assessed needs. In 1997 Central Government started to implement a number of social care reforms which prioritised independent living, the building of sustainable communities and empowering service users to have more control and say about the services that they wished to use and access. As part of these changes Central Government made it compulsory through the National Health Act for Local Authorities and the National Health Service to work closely together to deliver services through partnership working. One of the joint strategic aims is to develop reablement and prevention services to increase people’s level of independence thereby reducing the demand for traditional long term care support. Reablement services are designed to offer short term intensive support which aim to maximise an individual’s ability for independence thereby reducing reliance on the need for either residential or nursing care. The development of reablement services presents a massive challenge for the Local Authority and the National Health Service as the change means that two very different organisations have to find a way to overcome a number of organisational barriers to enable workers from both organisations to work successfully together. This study will analyse the impact of developing reablement services through partnership working and critique how different Primary Care Trusts and Local Authorities are working together to deliver reablement services. This will involve examining different models of reablement, identifying what is required to make a successful model work and determining how the organisations overcome organisational and cultural differences. The study is based on Liverpool City Council and its work with Allied Health Professionals to deliver reablement services the study will also undertake a comparison exercise with 2 other Local Authorities within England.
    • Outsourcing v insourcing: Analyse the business proposition in the case of Chester Racecourse's catering contract

      Webb, Paul; Gretton, Edward (University of Chester, 2009-09)
      This research paper looks at the strategic business process of sourcing and how it has evolved within theory and practice. The main aim of the paper is to comment on and provide recommendations for Chester Racecourse's decision as to whether it takes its catering operation in-house or remains with an external supplier. Based on the study of Chester Racecourse's current situation and a review of the literature, the paper proposes the best fit strategic framework for the sourcing decision and its implementation. This framework is developed using both the existing theories from the literature and also through a qualitative research method. This process uses interviews with key executives both within Chester Racecourse and also in other organisations of different scale and scope that have made similar decisions. The paper then proposes and develops a framework which best suits the specific needs of Chester Racecourse. The sourcing decision-making, implementation and resulting impact on an organisation involve a complex and dynamic process. There are suggested existing frameworks in the literature, although most of these centre on the outsourcing decision as opposed to the in-sourcing equivalent. The paper concludes that Chester's best decision is to in-source this function, as it is so closely aligned with its core product and revenue streams, as well as its strategic aims going forward. There are, however, considerable risks associated with this and the paper puts forward methods by which these can be mitigated.
    • P.E. teachers : Their knowledge and opinions related to exercise management of pupils with diabetes

      Fallows, Stephen; Clarke, David N. (University College ChesterFaculty of Education, St Martin's College, 2004-10)
      This study investigated Physical Education (PE) teachers' experiences, knowledge and attitudes towards exercise management of pupils with Type I diabetes. It was hypothesised that because of the specialist nature of Type I diabetes, PE teachers with experience of, or education in the condition, would score higher in a knowledge test then those without; additionally, PE teachers in this country would exhibit a similar lack of knowledge and understanding of Type I diabetes as their contemporaries in the USA. A cross-sectional postal questionnaire was issued to 100 PE teachers from partnership schools of St. Martin's College. 34 respondents, (19 male and 15 female, mean age 38 years, standard deviation (SD) = 9.5 years, mean years teaching experience 13.4 years, SD = 10.7 years) completed open questions assessing opinions and closed multiple-choice knowledge questions. Mann-Whitney U tests demonstrated no significant differences in the knowledge test scores for those with personal experience of, or previous education in Type I diabetes compared to those without prior experience (Z = -0.935, p = 0.35 or p > 0.05). Similarly, no significant differences in the overall group mean scores for the UK teachers compared to their USA peers were detected (Z = -1.061, p = 0.289 or p > 0.05). Overall, knowledge scores were low with the UK teachers' group mean score 15.3 % correct. This study has established a need for Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Institutions to include a knowledge and understanding of diabetes and exercise management as part of a student's training.
    • Parents' and carers' understandings of the nature and purposes of parent-based intervention groups delivered by the paediatric Speech and Language Therapy service in Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire Primary Care Trusts: An exploratory study

      Thurston, Miranda; Moseley Harris, Barbara (University of ChesterNHS Telford & Wrekin, 2011-11)
      Speech and language therapists regularly offer indirect group interventions providing parental advice or training, rather than direct treatments for communication-disabled children. Although this has been found to benefit children, there has been little research into the impact of such parent-based intervention groups on parents themselves. This is despite evidence that parents and speech and language therapists have differing perceptions regarding aspects of speech and language therapy and children's communication development. The aim of this study was to explore parents and carers' experiences of attending parent-based intervention groups in a local context, in order to investigate their perceptions of the nature and purposes of the groups they had attended and to develop a preliminary theoretical understanding of their experience. Nine mothers and one father who had completed at least one parent-based intervention course were interviewed. This generated descriptive qualitative data, which was analysed using grounded theory approaches to reflect the parents' priorities and concerns. Themes of parents' experiences of intervention sessions, parental gains during session attendance, intervention facilitating processes of personal change and empowerment, and impacts of parent-based intervention courses in the wider context, were identified. The study findings were used to produce a description, grounded in the data, of parents' understandings of the nature and purposes of parent-based intervention groups in speech and language therapy. Connections were made between the role played by the groups in the experience of parents in the current study and processes of parental adaptation and empowerment described in the literature on chronic illness and disability in children. A theoretical model of parents' experience of parent-based intervention groups was also developed. This study provides a preliminary overview of parents' experiences of parent-based intervention groups and includes a number of findings that support discrete observations and suggestions extant in the literature. It adds to the information available on parents' perceptions of speech and language therapy and indicates areas for further research into the costs and benefits of intervention from a parental perspective. The study findings, connections identified between the groups and processes of parental adaptation and empowerment, and the theoretical model presented have potential implications for clinical practice in the local area and may be transferable to other settings. However, the study was limited in size and scope and further research to test these findings will be required.
    • Parents’ experiences of using labelling information when making breakfast cereal choices for their children

      Riley, Claire (University of Chester, 2015-09)
      The consequences of a poor quality diet are slow to develop and easy to ignore, however, the impact on the health of communities as a whole is great (Lean, 2015). With the current upward trend in obesity, especially in children, this review looks into a variety of food labelling systems in order to determine their influence on consumers’ eating habits. The food labelling systems currently in place are only partially effective, with some seeming to demonstrate complete operational failure, therefore more research is needed in order to understand the cognitive processes used by consumers when making decisions using food labels. As a commonly consumed product which varies widely in nutritional content, and displays an array of different types of labelling information, breakfast cereal could benefit from further research into how the different food labelling systems are used and understood by consumers.
    • Parents’ understanding of front of pack orange juice labelling

      Ellahi, Basma; Giddins, Sian E. (University of Chester, 2010-11-01)
      Background: Previous studies have demonstrated the difficulties consumers face in understanding FoP labels of foodstuffs despite the government’s effort to introduce a system to ensure they are understood by all. A previous study (FSA, 2002) has demonstrated that knowledge regarding the terminology used on FoP orange juice labels was poor. Orange juice is the most popularly consumed juice within the UK (Galaverna, et al., 2008) and it has been shown that primary school aged children consume the highest amount of fruit juice (Bates, Lennox, & Swan, 2010). Objective: This study investigated the knowledge of parents of primary school aged children in relation to their understanding of orange juice labelling. The study also investigated the purchasing factors which affect the selection of the orange juice purchased. Both of these results will be compared in terms of Social-economic status (SES), age, the school recruited from, gender, level of education and perceived nutritional knowledge. Methodology: Questionnaires were distributed to all parents of two schools of different indices of multiple deprivations (IMD) to gain quantitative and qualitative data, a total of 130 participants were recruited, n = 95 from the school of low IMD and n = 35 from the school of high IMD. Results: Despite differences in the response rates between schools of varying IMD, knowledge and understanding of the terminology displayed on front of pack (FoP) orange juice labels was poor across all demographics. The vast majority of participants purchased a juice which they didn’t perceive to be the healthiest form; purchasing behaviour was shown to be greatly influenced by price. Conclusion: Price is a major factor in purchasing behaviour which may lead consumers to purchase a juice of lower quality as a response to tighter constraints on household budgets. Consumers still demonstrate poor knowledge in terms of the understanding of the terminology used on FoP orange juice labels despite efforts to increase consumer use and understanding of FoP labels of foodstuffs. Simplifying the terminology and wording used on FoP orange juice labels would be an effective way of enabling consumer understanding as current packaging is not understood by the major demographic groups.
    • Participatory budgeting - a neighbourhood manager's perspective

      Stockton, Jim; Naylor, Sara (University of Chester, 2010-11)
      This study reports the impact of the requirement to consult with citizens on budgeting decisions through Participatory Budgeting. The Duty to Involve agenda was imposed as a legal duty in April 2009 on all local authorities set out by the Labour administration. A number of key strategies support the Duty to Involve agenda in which Participatory Budgeting was one with the aim to increase engagement with citizens in decision making. The Participatory Budgeting national strategy was launched in 2008 with its key objective to ensure all authorities utilise its use by 2012. The increase in engagement initiatives over the past 10 years has increased the level of direct democracy to which Local Government managers have to comply and as a consequence has an impact on their role. Empirically the specific research question identifies the impact of the requirement to involve citizens in budgetary decisions by local government Neighbourhood Managers. Theories in relation to citizen engagement and participation in democracy and specifically in the UK are described and elaborated. The research considers the successes of the Participatory Budgeting originally practised in Brazil, it’s use to date in the UK and the pilots carried out in the Neighbourhood Management Areas in Liverpool City Council. The paper also considers the budgeting process in Local Government to assess the impact on budgets, if any. The main contribution of the study is the finding that the use of Participatory Budgeting has had a minimal impact on a manager’s role. Research identified that the PB pilot in Liverpool delivered a more transparent process to deciding how to spend an allocated pot of money but participation was area dependent and some bias was evident in the process by localities. The impact on budgets was not seen as a concern due to limited amount of funding available for participation however the application of Participatory Budgeting to larger budgets and service areas would require dedicated administrative support and education in communities to ensure decisions take account of all contingent factors about where funding should be prioritised.
    • Participatory budgeting: Is it 'doorstep democracy' and does it liberate collective wisdom?

      Webb, Paul; Davies, David W. (University of ChesterDenbighshire County Council, 2011-10)
      This dissertation provides an analysis of the increasing role Participatory Budgeting has as a mechanism for the local community to be directly involved in decisions on spending and prioritising public funds at a local level. Harnessing existing research on the subject and referencing the current topical debate on the Government's 'Big Society', this study reflects on Denbighshire County Council's philosophy of adopting the principles of Participatory Budgeting and provides an analysis of the subject through the adoption of a questionnaire and the observation of a particular local case study. The disseration finally identifies key recommendations on the future direction Participatory Budgeting should take within the council supported by a suggested implementation plan.
    • Patients' perceptions of complementary therapies in palliative care

      Wyatt, Debbie; Owen, Donna M. (University of Chester, 2008-04)
      The use of complementary therapies within palliative care is increasing, and many different therapies are now offered within the hospice setting. Much of the available literature concentrates on providing a scientific link between administered therapies and the benefit they give, palliative care is unique in that a cure is not sought; the aim of palliative care is to ensure maximum comfort and happiness for the patient and so if patients feel benefit from using a complementary therapy, one can argue that it should be available to them. The work presented in this dissertation is a study of a particular group of palliative-care patients, and their experience of two types of complementary therapies - acupuncture and aromatherapy - as a model to indicate their value in other treatment contexts. The aim of the study is to examine palliative-care patients' perceptions of their experience of acupuncture and aromatherapy. A phenomenological approach is followed in this study utilising triangulation of methods. Six patients were approached and recruited, three of whom were commencing a course of acupuncture, and three of whom were commencing a course of aromatherapy. Prior to starting their chosen therapy, each participant completed the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) quality-of-life questionnaire. Throughout the therapy participants kept a daily diary describing how they felt each day. Upon completion of the course of therapy, participants were interviewed using semi-structured interviews Four themes were identified from the interview transcripts and daily diaries: participants felt the therapy helped with pain, helped with relaxation, gave them 'me time', and they valued the counselling role of the therapist. Results were limited to four participants as two of the original six recruited were not eventually able to be interviewed. Palliative-care patients appear to find acupuncture and aromatherapy beneficial. All were glad to have had the therapy and wanted to have further similar therapy in the future. A qualitative approach proved very useful in gaining patients' perceptions. Two of the themes identified in this study are not apparent in previous literature and so further qualitative research would be informative.
    • A payroll business model for the future

      McGurk, Michael M. J. (University of Chester, 2009-06)
      The context of this research is broadly focused since it is based on payroll business models, which sit predominantly within Human Resource or Finance functions. This research is not about defining the operational detail of how a payroll service is delivered. It is about the core strategic elements of a model that will strengthen payroll as a competitive business model for the joint venture company and other organisations. Strategies emerge as people come to learn about a situation and the capabilities of their firm to deal with them (Mintzberg et al, 1998). Mintzberg’s thinking encapsulates the essence of this research in that it has identified the challenging perceptual paradigm shift, that is, to transform the thinking of payroll as a mere transactional cost based activity to one that is perceived as a core business activity with multiple potential when combined with associated technology and integration with other business functions. It provides a competency set that can be sold in the market place as a unique selling position to deliver what others may consider as blue sky thinking i.e. a mere wish or dream.
    • Peer Victimization, Self-esteem and Social Anxiety as Predictors of Resilience: Gender Differences in Resilience Explored

      Boulton, Mike; Santos, Justine K. (University of Chester, 2017)
      Resilience has been highly studied in the last 40-50 years, however, there is still little known about what makes individuals that go through the same trauma have different life outcomes (Masten, 2011). 654 students, aged between 10 and 16 years, took part in this cross-sectional research. The student completed an online questionnaire comprised of; the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC; Connor & Davidson, 2003), Self-report Victimization Scale (Boulton et al., 2008), RCMAS (Reynolds & Richmond, 1985) and a Self-Esteem Scale (Thomaes et al., 2010). The aim of this study was to tests whether these predictor variables were unique and collective predictors of resilience. Results showed that all three predictors could collectively predict resilience (F (3,516)= 71.8, p<0.01). Self-esteem and social anxiety were also able to uniquely predict resilience (F (1,516)= 24.87, p<0.01; F (1,516)= 57.65, p<0.01), however, victimization was not a significant predictor (F (1,516)= 1.79, p=0.18). The researchers also concluded that there was a significant gender difference (t(534)= 3.686 p<0.01), with males scoring higher than the females in this sample. The researchers concluded that individuals with high self-esteem and high social anxiety were more likely to bounce back from adversity and are at lower risk for negative effects. They also concluded that in adolescence males have higher resilience than females. The practical implications of this are discussed.
    • Perceptions of Community Archaeology as a Practice and Profession: The Experience of the Council for British Archaeology's Community Archaeology Bursary Holders

      Stringfellow, Emma (University of Chester, 2017)
      The growth of community archaeology and the engagement of the non-professional archaeologist in archaeology has grown significantly over the last thirty years. In the UK, this growth has to a large extent been driven by the political and social concern with "community" as a stabilising factor in society and the argument that a greater attachment to "place" provides social cohesiveness. Other factors such as an increase in leisure time in the active retired and the popularity of archaeology in the media, have also contributed to increasing numbers of the public becoming involved in the practice of archaeology. This research examines the role of the specialist"community archaeologist" within this landscape of increasing public participation. This analysis covers both the experience of the bursary holders who undertook the Council for British Archaeology's (CBA) Community Archaeology Bursary (CAB) training scheme which ran from 2011 to 2015 and the wider employment market for specialist community archaeologists. This research analyses the outcomes of the scheme against the Council's success measures and provides suggestions for further work. The author will argue that engagement of the public in the practice of archaeology exists as a series of practices all archaeologists should have in their professional repertoire, rather than a distinct specialist full time role. It will conclude that the focus of professional archaeological engagement with the public should be on supporting collaboration and democratic participation rather than what could be perceived as a colonisation of the practice and that the sector focus should be on building the practice of public engagement as an integral professional skill for any archaeologist.
    • Perceptions of Introducing Brown Rice into the Diet of Iranians in Lenjan County, Isfahan, Iran

      Fallows, Stephen; Brannigan, Angela (University of Chester, 2016-06-01)
      Objective: To understand Iranian women’s perceptions of brown rice and to assess their willingness to substitute the commonly consumed white rice for brown rice in their own and family diets. Design: A cross sectional survey was used to examine women’s perceptions of brown rice and assess their willingness to substitute brown rice for white rice in their diets. As part of the study, participants gained knowledge about the health and nutritive benefits of brown rice, tasted different brown rice dishes and given the opportunity to cook it in their own homes following cooking guidance and recipes. Setting: Lenjan County, Isfahan, Iran. Subjects: 106 (n) Iranian women over 18 years living in the Lenjan area who cook and eat rice. Results: The study revealed that most participants (59.4%) had little awareness about brown rice or its nutritive properties and the majority (79.2%) had never tasted it before. It was found that despite frequent consumption of white rice most participants (95%) and their families liked the taste of the brown rice and would cook and eat it on a regularly basis if available locally. Conclusions: The present study suggests that brown rice replacement in the diet of Iranians would be culturally acceptable as participants liked its overall taste and wanted to eat healthy food. A dietary intervention to change the staple rice quality in Iran has the potential to improve population health and have an impact on reducing diet-related diseases.
    • Performance indicator ranking and predictive modelling in rugby union.

      Green, Ryan F. (University of Chester, 2015-09)
      The aim of this study is to increase the body of knowledge surrounding Northern Hemisphere rugby union by establishing norms for performance indicators; forming a ranking of performance indicators in terms of their importance to successful team performance on a game by game and seasonal basis; in addition creating a predictive model that can forecast domestic league success. Match statistics from 132 men’s domestic matches played over the 2014/15 season of the Aviva Premiership were analysed. Team performance indicators representing frequencies of a given event for each team in each match were divided into six categories: attack, defence, kicking, breakdown, set pieces and discipline. Statistics from each of the 132 matches were then inputted into Microsoft Excel and subsequently IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows (version 22) software for statistical analysis. The performance indicators were used to highlight key differences between winning and losing performances as well as team ranking on a game by game and seasonal basis. It was found that in accordance to previous research, clean breaks are crucial to successful rugby performance as they often lead to some form of score, and scoring often reflects game outcome (Hughes et al., 2012). Also the need for penalty limitation and effective set pieces, to maintain possession and limit the scoring opportunities of the opposition, (Askew, 2010; Higham, 2014; Hughes et al., 2012) has been supported. Finally, a significant (P<0.05) relationship between successful rugby union performance and the amount of mauls won was found, it has been theorized that this was due to the effectiveness of a specific set piece tactic known as lineout drives.
    • Performance management and the voluntary sector: A fine romance?

      Warhurst, Russell; McClenaghan, David (University of Chester, 2010-10)
      This research project considers the contribution that Performance Management principles and techniques have made to the voluntary sector’s growing requirement to provide services to the Public Service and in particular to how specialist palliative care providers have responded to the commissioning agenda in the new health care economy. The methodology adopted in this research uses a critical literature review and a small selection of semi-structured interviews to consider the introduction, implementation and effect of performance management and appraisal systems in the voluntary sector and the hospice movement. The main findings of this project suggest that there is more research needed to establish the effective contribution that the renewed interest in human resource management has made within the voluntary sector.
    • Performance management: Assessing the gap between theory and practice in an SME

      Rowland, Caroline; Gresty, Dominique (University of Chester, 2010-06)
      This study seeks to assess issues which may prevent performance management theory being applied effectively in practice. In particular it is interested in performance management in an SME. A single case study was used to test the author’s theoretical propositions and assess them against previous academic research. Findings were validated through a multi-method approach. Many issues found in prior performance management research were present in the study organisation, with behavioural factors, management capabilities and past experience of performance management as potential barriers to a successful PMS. Although this research is based on a single case study and therefore not generalisable, it can be concluded that for a performance management system to be effective companies must be clear about their goals, develop a coherent PM strategy and show commitment at each stage of the process. This study was based on a privately-owned micro-organisation in the service sector and adds to previous research conducted into performance management issues in SMEs.
    • A performance measurement tool for improving customer satisfaction with a local government framework: A case study of Cheshire County Council, Engineering Service

      Webb, Paul; Wood, Sheena (University of Chester, 2006-06)
      The dissertation describes the research undertaken and presents findings from a review of approaches, in order to measure and understand what factors contribute to either achieving or inhibiting customer satisfaction within Cheshire County Council, Engineering Service. The aim of the research is to establish a performance measurement tool for addressing and improving customer satisfaction levels. This will be carried out by conducting a balanced appraisal within a regional engineering service environment, in order to assemble the required data for enhancing current practices and to meet the challenge of continuous improvement of performance for CES. The dissertation describes the methods utilised in order to achieve these objectives by: • Reviewing relevant literature associated with organisational performance and customer satisfaction. This will inform and provide the framework for the research. • Defining the methodology adopted to undertake the research in terms of the philosophical stance, approach, strategy and methods of data collection utilised. • Reporting the findings of the research, demonstrating how they were arrived at through analysis of the collected data and by testing this against relevant theory. Qualitative methods have been adopted for the purpose of this case study. It is anticipated that this case study will enable the Service to contribute to improving the overall moderate three star status achieved by the County Council at it's latest comprehensive performance assessment in accordance with the government's customer focused modernising agenda. The research question and aims that are being investigated for the purpose of this study are: What type of Performance Measurement Tool should be used for improving customer Satisfaction, within a Local Government Framework? To analyse the current performance measurement tools, within an ES environment. To provide a balanced appraisal for evaluating customer satisfaction through performance management within an Engineering environment. To identify the gaps between levels of customer satisfaction and perceived performance by analysing the results of aims 1 and 2 and making recommendations for improvement. To establish what changes are required to be taken by Engineering Service to ensure customer satisfaction and to meet the challenge of continuous improvement in performance. In order to answer the research question and to achieve the research aims, a phenomenological philosophy is adopted, using a case study strategy and an inductive approach. The data collection methodology has been identified based on the findings of an internal focus group established to review customer satisfaction. The parameters of detailed research methodology are extended to four regional authorities in addition to Cheshire in order to demonstrate a balanced and authoritative outcome.