National Audit Office
Measuring Up: How Good Are the Government's Data Systems for Monitoring Performance Against Public Service Agreements?
HC 465, Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Session 2008-2009
- National Audit Office (NAO)
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
Good quality data systems enable departments to accurately report their performance against Parliamentary Service Agreements (PSA) to Parliament and the public. They also play an important role in helping departments:
improve programme management and performance;
assess whether they need to revise policies and programmes;
allocate resources; and
make other policy decisions.
PSAs were introduced in 1998 to promote performance improvement and increase the accountability for government resources. 89 per cent of data systems in departments are at least broadly appropriate for measuring progress against their PSAs. This is a modest improvement when compared with previous sets of PSAs. There has also been an improvement in the clarity and presentation of PSA monitoring information, making it easier to understand the significance of any issues arising and which organisations are responsible for delivery. But there is still room for improvement.
In 2007, HM Treasury reduced the number of PSAs and national targets. Instead a premium was placed on high quality, timely data. It is unacceptable that 34 per cent of data systems still have weaknesses and 11 per cent remain unsatisfactory. Many of the weaknesses in the data systems stem from departments failing formally to consider the quality of data needed to check progress on their PSAs and an associated lack of formal risk assessment.
Despite HM Treasury issuing good, comprehensive guidance on the development of indicators which would help departments know if PSAs were being met, departments did not consistently apply this guidance and HM Treasury did not enforce its application.
|Format||Paperback||Published||21 Oct 2009|
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