The cost of policy

The Herald reports:

Jobs could “quite possibly” be lost as a result of a Government review of the cost of policy advice across its departments and agencies, State Services Minister Tony Ryall says.

A review was announced today, after total Government spending on policy advice was estimated to have jumped by more than 70 per cent between 2003 and 2009 – from about $510 million to $880 million.

It was important to consider how policy advice could deliver value for money for the taxpayers, Mr Ryall said.

If I was a policy analyst, I’d be somewhat nervous.

Now to make it clear, I think a core role of Government is to have competent policy analysis, and in fact in some areas we could possibly do with further resources.

In other areas I think we have too much analysis. Now this is not the fault of individual analysts, but more reflecting that the Government has set up so many performance indicators etc, that you need legions to monitor them etc.

What Ryall has done in Health is potentially a good model in some other areas – reduce the complexity of the reporting requirements, and the need for so many policy staff may be reduced.

I have not looked in depth at TEC lately, but I have been amazed at how around 20 staff in the Education Ministry used to look after the tertiary sector, and TEC for a while rew to almost 400 staff. I would be surprised if there was not further savings to be made there.

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