A new report today from the Centre for Social Justice, a UK think-tank, is highly critical of the way that successive governments have approached decisions about public spending.
The report says that government spending programmes have lacked clear objectives and have been poorly managed and monitored. The authors warn that too little attention has been paid to evidence from research on whether specific programmes are effective. They are calling on ministers to set up a new body – the Office of Spending Effectiveness – which would work with established organisations such as the Office for National Statistics and the National Audit Office.
The report cites international evidence, such as the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, as evidence that an outcomes-based approach to spending decisions can be made to work.