Numbers game

14th April 1995 at 01:00
The editorial "Weighing the facts" (TES, March 31) following publication of the Audit Commission's local authority league tables just will not do.

Praying in aid the supposed success of WeightWatchers said it all. The public weighing characteristic of that organisation can achieve short-term change but wastage rate is high and ability to achieve long-term reduction doubtful.

The answer is not to make performance indicators more comprehensive.

There should be as few as possible - say not more than five - and they should exist within a context which does not demean.

What a mean-spirited, Gradgrindish view of our work would develop from an obsession with numbers. A few critical numbers are needed but within a renewed concept of public service.

Those who work in the public service need an incentive to battle on in increasingly difficult circumstances. Knocking a few percentage points off an unfavourable performance indicator, among a mass of other numbers, is unlikely to be enough.

Let us give those who work in the public service a reason to lift their heads.

PETER GALE

41 Barnes View

Sunderland

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