PASC 4: Deceptive Benchmarks

Filed under: Assets,Governance,Objectives — lenand @ 8:57 am
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The fourth of the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) 12 questions, asks:

4. How well is IT used in the design, delivery and improvement of public services?

IT has added value in many public services. “How well?” implies some form of performance measurement from a baseline. Most KPIs are just benchmarks against similar types of local government organisation eg those produced annually by SOCITM . These are useful figures for IT departments, but do not show a comparison with other parts of the public sector or the private sector.  Nor do they factor in any component relating to the perceived value of a service.

The ability to compare with universal best practice depends on a level of maturity that is not generally present in the public sector. See “Valuing Information as an Asset”  as an introduction to what can be achieved. There are some good public sector examples – but adoption of the techniques is not widespread. As the authors, Chris Higson and Dave Waltho, point out, it is a matter of leadership:

“As the business lead for value identification and maximisation, CFOs should take the lead role in promoting, managing and accounting for information assets. CIOs should encourage this process, because it will forge closer links with the wider business and change the perception of IT from that of a cost centre or utility to a strategic enabler.”

Evidence of quality across the UK public sector is bound to be mixed. There will be good and bad examples in every organisation. Post implementation reviews, one year after implementation, would be the best source of evidence – but almost as rare as hen’s teeth.


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