Magazine article Public Finance

ONS Admits That Productivity Is Hard to Measure

Magazine article Public Finance

ONS Admits That Productivity Is Hard to Measure

Article excerpt

No single measure of public sector productivity will ever capture the complex relationship between investment in services and the results achieved, the Office for National Statistics has admitted.

The ONS sounded its warning as it revealed on November 1 that, using current measurement methods, productivity in the state education sector has been falling by 1% a year on average since 1995. That is despite sustained increases in education funding, reaching £42bn in 2004.

Similar trends in health have meant that measurement of public sector productivity has become a political hot potato.

'No single estimate of productivity can ever tell the complete story on the relationship between inputs, outputs and outcomes,' the ONS said. '[We] must stress the difficulties associated with the measurement of productivity. …

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