Think tank proposes a new approach for government target-setting
Think tank proposes a new approach for government target-setting. A report launched in September by the Social Market Foundation (SMF) argues that the government?s approach to setting targets needs to be radically reassessed and presents a package of practical recommendations to improve the way in which targets are used in future. In a comprehensive review of four key public services, the SMF?s Targets Commission argues that many of the standard criticisms of targets are invalid, and sometimes influenced by professional self-interest. But it also highlights the Government?s haphazard approach to data collection, the setting of targets without evidence and the designing of targets which are vulnerable to manipulation by public sector staff. The Commission blames poorly designed targets for the controversies of, for example, GPs abolishing advance booking in order to meet the 48-hour access targets, rather than targets themselves. However the report argues that, when designed well, targets have the potential to effect huge change and can be a key tool in improving public service performance, particularly when other forms of service improvement - such as user choice - are absent.
By Social Market Foundation, UK.