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Govt urged to use MI for effective decision making
Accountancy News |
Better use of accountancy principles at the top of Whitehall would be a positive development, according to a recent report.
A paper published by the Institute for Government, Deloitte and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) claims that the government and taxpayers could benefit from better use of management information (MI) to improve public spending decisions.
In 'Improving decision making in Whitehall: effective use of management information', the bodies claim that the government faces increasingly stark choices on how to manage its resources functions, services and operations more effectively.
"To make informed decisions, keep a check on value for money and assess risks, government needs accurate MI," the report stated.
CIMA said the lack of such a fundamental business tool in Whitehall is "striking" to those from a commercial background.
The accountancy body noted that select committees and ministers have openly questioned whether government has the right data to make informed decisions about its functions.
Unlike businesses that use MI systematically to drive decision-making, Whitehall uses MI sporadically, CIMA said.
Julian McCrae, director of research at the Institute for Government, said ministers have always had an obligation to provide value for money for the taxpayer and the next spending review will be as tough as the last.
"Given the challenges ahead, there is no time to waste in unlocking systematic improvements in Whitehall's use of management information," he stated.
"Finance directors and permanent secretaries, with the encouragement of the new non-executive directors, have a vital role to play in making the cases of good practice we have seen become part of everyday Whitehall business."
Charles Tilley, chief executive at CIMA, suggested many government decisions "appear to be based upon a hunch" and not evidence-based with a clear focus on shaping policy around what can be delivered, and at what cost.
"We need quality MI which can be translated into practical tools to enable effective decision making," he stated.
"All of this needs to be couched in a framework of an overall government strategy. Government must build upon its pockets of best practice so that a culture of quality information and analysis becomes the norm right across Whitehall."
Posted by John Lynes
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