Service quality and efficiency

August 5, 2009

In the House of Commons Treasury Committee report Evaluating the Efficiency Programme, Thirteenth Report of Session 2008–09 printed 21 July 2009 there are some recollections to a National Audit Office report of 2007 and its requests when implementing the Gershon programme of efficiency savings. They’re focusing on HMRC but the conclusions are applicable in any application of Peter Gershon’s ‘amazing’ ideas.

In their own words on page 26 of the latest report it is proposed that:

” 75. We welcome the Government’s assurances about maintaining service quality in light of the drive for efficiency savings. However we are concerned that reported measures of service quality are inconsistent with some of the evidence we have received.

We acknowledge that creating new measures may incur costs, but ensuring that service quality is not adversely affected by efficiency savings should be a priority. The fact that departments can select their own measures of service quality may lead to a biased selection of measures that do not give a representative picture of service quality.

Departments should work with the NAO to define adequate service quality measures preferably using data drawn from users.”

Further along on page 28, the committee asks that:

11. To ensure that only true efficiencies are captured and reported, it is important that they are measured appropriately and accurately. We expect Government departments to have implemented the NAO’s recommendations concerning measurement. We expect the Treasury to monitor the progress of departments’ improvement in measuring efficiency. ”

I wonder what’s happened the next time they look? How can service quality be measured without analysing feedback from the customers?


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