"...we must overcome our longstanding lack of interest in evaluating what
works: the quiet scandal of public policy where billions are spent but
not unspent if they don’t deliver. One hard lesson from history is that
reviews focusing just on efficiency gains don’t deliver what’s needed
when your budget deficit is heading towards 10 per cent. The Canadians
introduced 15 initiatives to control or reduce expenditure in the 1980s
and early 1990s, but their debt still tripled. If we aren’t careful, we
are in danger of following them."
David Halpern is director of research at the Institute for Government
and was a chief analyst in the Downing Street strategy unit.