Thursday, October 09, 2008

In Defence Of Lembit; Or, Why Targets Don't Work (Part 94)

I thought that those who think that the boy Öpik can't appear in front of a camera without a harmonica, a Z-list celebrity partner and a picture of an asteroid should be pointed towards his appearance on Wales Tonight giving a sombre, measured reaction to a sombre story. Then again, I should warn you both that ITV's answer to iPlayer is criminally inept and that the video you are about to see may be proceeded by scenes of a Daily Hate Mail advertising nature that some viewers may find distressing...

The story itself, however, gives an important insight into what happens when you give a target culture to a group of people almost specifically recruited to be innumerate. In this case, a family in Newtown, Powys have been waiting since August for a response to their claim to the Social Fund for help paying for a family funeral. ITV Wales approached the Department for Work and Pensions for a comment and they duly responded;

"...we aim to clear all such applications within sixteen working days. So far this year in Wales we have cleared 1,800 applications with an average clearance time of fourteen days, so we are exceeding that target."

Oh dear me no. For those who need it spelled out, when the target is 100% clearance at sixteen days, an average clearance time of fourteen days means that the 100% clearance time is insultingly pathetic and could easily be twice the sixteen day target. To say that you are meeting a complete clearance target when the average clearance is better you must by definition be either illiterate or innumerate; to say I'm not surprised to see a government response be either would be a colossal understatement...

No comments: