Projects per year
Performance targets tend to be depicted as management tools, designed to improve public policy outcomes. Yet targets also have a symbolic function, signalling commitment to and underscoring achievement of political goals. This article explores the tension between these ‘disciplining’ and ‘signalling’ functions, looking at UK targets on asylum, 2000–10. Attempts to combine the two functions led to three types of problem: (1) technical targets designed to steer organizational performance lacked political resonance, prompting politicians to resort to top-down, political targets; (2) the imposition of unfeasible political targets created distortions in the organization, encouraging forms of gaming; and (3) the political risks of adopting stretch targets were not offset by the dividends of positive attention when targets were met: the government was unable to establish targets as the predominant mode of assessing its performance. The failed attempt to marry these functions suggests the need to decouple political and management targets in public administration.
- Assylum policy
- United Kingdom
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- 1 Finished
The Politics of Monitoring: Information, Indicators and Targets in Climate Change, Defence and Immigration Policy.
1/04/13 → 30/06/16