UK government needs better figures

The UK government may be heading for another Carillion-scale disaster and won’t know it because it doesn’t have the figures to evidence either good or bad results, says a report in Public Finance.

Sarah Nickson of the Institute for Government makes the claim in an article – or at least hints that the government needs better figures in order to achieve decent oversight of what’s going on.

It’s a dryish academic piece that makes a valid point. The killer sentence for us is the one that states that companies such as Carillion and Interserve (not that they are in the same position, Carillion being long gone and Interserve still fighting on) rely too much on goodwill and not enough on demonstrable, factual knowledge to get their contracts.

We’d add, as we’ve done before, that there’s an element of political dogma in here and it’s not helpful. If a government says outsourcing is a good idea it’s going to outsource based on blind faith, as we’ve seen over the last couple of decades from both major parties. The reality of what’s happening behind the scenes or whether anyone has actually evaluated a particular engagement doesn’t seem to matter.

So here’s a resolution for 2019, if any decision makers are listening: how about making a decision on specific criteria and genuine information next time you get the chance, and continuing to evaluate it and review when it’s in place?

The thought that this wasn’t already happening beggars belief.

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