This research investigates the effects of learning‐oriented benchmarking in public healthcare settings. Benchmarking is a widely adopted yet little explored accounting practice that is part of the paradigm of New Public Management. Extant studies are directed towards mandated coercive benchmarking applications. The present study analyses voluntary benchmarking in a public setting that is oriented towards learning. The study contributes by showing how benchmarking can be mobilised for learning and offers evidence of the effects of such benchmarking for performance outcomes. It concludes that benchmarking can enable learning in public settings but that this requires actors to invest in ensuring that benchmark data are directed towards improvement.