Today’s highly dubious announcement of supposed ‘efficiency savings’ by the Government reinforces the need for independent Standards for reporting performance and efficiency in the public sector. Today I’ve published a ‘White Paper’ calling for changes to achieve that.
The Government published, on 9th August, its latest claims about improvements in efficiency. It claimed efficiency savings of £5.5bn, an seemingly impressive figure.
However, as I pointed out in the previous blog post, these figures are mostly not ‘efficiency savings’, but merely cuts.
This is important for two reasons says:
Firstly, it undermines public confidence and accountability when misleading figures are published. The 1979-97 Conservative government, the 1997-2010 Labour government and the current Coalition government have all been guilty of this.
Secondly, it undermines real improvements in efficiency and performance of public services when measurement and reporting are so badly done. It means government and public service leaders don’t really have accurate information. It also means there is constant, and costly, “reinventing the wheel” going on with multiple monitoring agencies demanding data in different formats, working to different definitions, etc.
So I have proposed in my White Paper that what is needed are “Generally Accepted Reporting Standards for Public Performance”, similar to accounting standards, enforced by an Office of Public Performance.
The White Paper is published as part of the “policy@manchester” initiative that brings together over 300 academics from across the University of Manchester who are engaged with various aspects of public policy.
You can download the full White Paper here (just click on “Full text”) [PS – this document is now in PDF format to make it more accessible]