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Home » Library » Discussion Papers » DP0810 The Performance Metrics Boom and Parliamentary Scrutiny and Evidence

This paper deals with a series of questions which are posed in relation to performance
metrics and the practices of parliamentarians as ‘end-users’ scrutinising and
evaluating public policies. Does the availability of an extensive range of metrics allow
parliamentarians to scrutinise governments’ policy records and progress with specific
programmes? Alternately is there evidence of ‘producer capture’ in the sense that
metrics are used to narrowly ‘frame issues’, to the exclusion of key dimensions which
might otherwise be subject to political scrutiny? Are performance metrics which
require relatively high degrees of analytic capacity on the part of parliamentarians
ignored due to the cost of gaining expertise? Are there unintended consequences
associated with capturing the performance of public services in the form of metrics?
The paper is based on research conducted in relation to the Scottish Parliament and
oversight of health policy.
Key words: metrics, producers, capture.

Full paper (pdf): The Performance Metrics Boom and Parliamentary

Dr. Gordon Marnoch, Reader, School of Policy Studies, University of Ulster