The latest Quarterly Data Summaries (QDS) have today been published.
The Quarterly Data Summaries are designed to fit on a single page to provide a quarterly snapshot on how each department is spending its budget, the results it has achieved and how it is deploying its workforce.
The summaries follow commitments made in the 2011 Budget and the Written Ministerial Statement on Business Plans. Their primary purpose is to make more of the management information currently held by government available to members of the public on a regular basis.
This information is not audited and the quality and accuracy of the data needs to dramatically improve. However, over time with improvements in data quality and timeliness the public will be able to judge the performance of each department in a meaningful and understandable manner.
An annual version of this information is formally laid in Parliament in the Annual Report and Accounts.
The information is presented in excel format to allow the information to be presented in a re-usable format.
The summary template is the same for all departments, though many of the individual indicators are unique to the department (especially input and impact indicators).
This is the first time Government has published this kind of information, and while this is a good start, there is room for improvement. Before using this data people should ensure they take full note of the caveats noted in each Department’s measurement annex and treat with necessary caution.
At the moment, people should not be using this data to make direct comparisons between departments for several reasons. Firstly, the business of each department is unique and it does not make sense to compare some measures across all departments. Secondly, many of the measures are not directly comparable because they do not have common definitions, time periods, or data collection processes.
Departments update their QDS’s each quarter and you can find links to them here.