Abolishing the Performance Indicators

Abolished Quangos and indicators in the morning; now, what's for lunch?

Eric Pickles has announced that he will be abolishing all Local Area Agreements (LAA) and the National Indicator data set.

(Obviously, the flip side of this is that he is also abolishing the grants that went with meeting those LAA targets.)

In the place of the national indicators the Government will ask for local government to prepare and submit a series of different data sets.

The assumption here is that it is not the collection of the data that puts unnecessary costs on Local Government but the bending of services to meet the targets and the number crunching that follows to turn the data into performance indicators. A lot will depend on how simple Mr Pickles data requests will be.

I reckon that the savings from not collecting these targets will be smaller than Mr Pickles believes but that this symbolises a welcome retreat by the central government. Whether local government can rise to the challenge is an open question especially in times Osbourne enacted cuts but for the first time in a long time this offers local government a fighting chance to innovate and plough their own furrow in response to specific local needs.

Explore posts in the same categories: Big P Politics, The future of Local Govt

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5 Comments on “Abolishing the Performance Indicators”

  1. LG Worker Says:

    I disagree. I admit that the performance culture had got out of hand and I think this was really because very few people understood how performance really should work. However LAAs were a tool of getting Partnerships to work. Performance figures that we all had to collect also led to benchmarking, which in turn led to innovation. Finally, how do we show people how well/or badly we are doing without some sort of monitoring.

    Actually finally again, if you think this means we will stop having targets I think you’ll be shown to be wrong. Orgainisations like and abuse targets (for the reasons I mention above. See anything good can be made bad), so will keep them even if others say get rid of them. So I reckon we will see local indicators appearing. I can think of one public orgainsation that was told they no longer had to have targets for a particular thing, but a year on they still have the old target.

  2. Croft Says:

    I agree. This won’t make savings. The time spent colalting figures etc for central government will now be spent collating figures for residents/Member/other who care. And then explaining them and trying different ways to make them look good (Cynical? me?)

    And then probably collecting different figures to do some benchmarking too, but that’s another story…

    The NIs were, by and large, awful. But that was because they were unecessarily complicated numbers. The concept of NIs is not so bad, as long as they’re all made easy to collect and understand.

  3. localgovaswell Says:

    LG Worker asked: How do we show people how well or badly we are doing?
    That is a brilliant question and one that probably deserves a full post in response. However, for now here’s my question: ‘Why do we need to provide data to let the public know how we are doing?’
    Surely, they know better than we do how good their public services are?
    Maybe I’m being a little provocative but seriously, do people judge their services on some stats or do we judge them based on our own, and our friends, personal experiences?
    As for performance indicators and partnerships that will def require another post… More to follow…

  4. localgov Says:

    I hate to back my fellow blogger here (in the interests of balance that is, rather than because I don’t like them) but I probably do agree with him somewhat.

    With many things I do I put it to a simple test – what would my mum think? For example, if I want to get a message out to local residents and only do so through Facebook, my mum would never get it as she is as technophobic as the lovechild of Boris Johnson and the Queen.

    Similarly, if she wanted to say how well or not local services were she would relay stories from her own and her friends experiences rather than looking up stats.

    I think stats have their place, certainly, and if used properly can be actively used to improve services, but relying solely on them to ascertain the success or otherwise of a service cuts us off from the best form of feedback and approval.

  5. […] recently wrote a post trashing performance indicators: LG Worker responded in the comments section and so I invited him/her to write a post in defence of […]

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