Saturday, October 20, 2007

What hope do we have?

I was reading this article on the BBC website from a journalist talking about Gordo's plans for the schools. Basically he says look at the targets he has set not what is being said. A good idea. Only something we have been doing for years. Read the full article here.

At the conclusion he says 'The big question about targets, though, is whether as everyone scuttles off to meet them, other aspects of education get ignored or even damaged in the process.'

Now isn't that one area where the debate actually is over. They clearly do. In all aspects of life. If we were too thick to get evidence from all the communist countries we certainly have after the last ten years of Stalinist target setting as well as our own personal experience since we were born. Give us a target, promise us a reward and we achieve it regardless of any side effects.

It does not bode well that the people writing our news do not recognise this and still consider it a big question. I left a comment on the BBC website as he didn't have the article on his own blog.

I despair though. I really do.


At 12:07 am, Blogger John East said...

Yes, the target culture is thoroughly discredited, but is it the target idea itself that is wrong or the cynical, corrupt, self serving morons who set them?

Before dismissing targets out of hand, what if all the target setters were executed and the job was handed over to a third party like you or me?

Education: Target 1) X% of the kids to be able to read and write by a certain age.

Police: Target 1) Y% of criminals to be caught.

NHS: Target 1) Z% of patients to be cured.

Etc., etc.

I daresay you or I could draft perhaps 50 or so targets for each public sector and it would only take us a couple of days.

Needless to say, rewards would not be given for achieving targets. Instead, failure to hit targets, as judged by customers/service receivers, would result in pay cuts.

Monies thus collected would fund massive tax cuts.

I wonder if there is a politician in the country who would support these ideas?

At 12:44 pm, Blogger Bag said...


Good ideas. I work in a target driven private sector culture myself where my bonus is based on achievements. It is also counterproductive sometimes. However in our case the bulk of the bonus 50% is based on company profits. So far we are doing well and have done for a while.

Personally I think the problem with targets in the public sector is they are set at the top. By the time they filter down the people at the bottom only ever see are the financial values.

If the targets were set at a lower level such are Cancer units. 50% cure. A&E. 2 Hr from entry to exit. etc. So if a trust had one of these that would be one of its targets. if it had both it would have two targets. Of course the exact wording is criticalor we have people being left to die while we cure the easy ones to meet the targets.

It's not easy to set good targets but the public sector seem to be able to consistently screw up every one by virtue of it's Stalinist policies. Top down. People below will work to achieve what gives them extra money, keep their job or just for a quiet life.

I am no different and I think if I worked in the NHS I would probably be doing the same.


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