Output measurement in the Scottish budget

Midwinter, Arthur and Ashcroft, Brian (2005) Output measurement in the Scottish budget. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 30 (1). pp. 12-19. ISSN 0306-7866

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The publication of the new spending plans for Scotland (Scottish Executive 2004a) after the debate on Spending Review 2004 was greeted in journalistic and political circles as but the latest exercise in government spin. The Herald's Scottish political correspondent (Gordon, 2004) inferred that the dropping of 138 targets was part of a Machiavellian exercise of control of information to cloud the process of accountability, and as greater transparency and efficiency in public spending was central to the rationale for targets, then clearly if correct, this was a major issue of public concern. The practice of target-setting by the Executive however, requires the reconsideration of targets in each Spending Review and their replacement as appropriate, whether by more relevant measures or to reflect new priorities. In this case, there was no presentational spin.