Balneus

Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Political claims, good management, no evidence

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-10-29


One of the common claims of politicians is that their party is a good manager.

Such claims are bunkum without the use of the good management practice of a balanced scorecard that indicates the following:

  • What they want to be measured on (e.g. "twenty percent health", "thirty percent education", etc)
  • What metrics are used to assess performance (e.g. for health, do we include measures of obesity prevalence, infant mortality, immunization rates, GP/population ratio, elective surgery waiting lists,….)
  • What figures for these metrics are considered failures, passes, credits, or above target

Each party could probably propose different weightings (e.g. one might put health as more important than the economy).  Each would want different metrics and metric weightings for each area (e.g. for employment, this could be the number of people who work less than one hour a week, or the number of people wanting at least 5 hours MORE per week).

Even if the basis for the scorecards was the same across all parties, each might have different sets of "targets" – what score would give them a "fail" for an area, what is a "pass", what gives them an "A".

Such a conversation as part of an election campaign, including arguments about whether targets were realistic, allows a realistic notion of political promises, and a way to judge governments come the next election.

At least Bob Hawke had the guts to say something like this, to give an almost falsifiable promise: "By 1990, no Australian child will be living in poverty."

This would give a far better idea to the electorate about what a party actually means by saying they will focus on a particular aspect of society, and the campaign promises, rather than being merely platitudes, will be falsifiable.

Good economic managers?  What do they mean by that?

The education revolution?  How will we know if it has actually achieved anything?

At the moment, politicians are like car salesman who mention "economical" but won’t tell you how much juice the car uses in typical city driving conditions (or rural performance if you live out there).

Good managers?  Not without showing some evidence of using good management practice!


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One Response to “Political claims, good management, no evidence”

  1. […] are some advantages to political parties if they started such conversations, proposing balanced scorecards covering their agenda and what they hope for our society.  They might not be able to control […]

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