False economies, Part 1: Decoding efficiency



decoding efficiency' image|Decoding efficiency infograph

Translating the jargon on public sector efficiency

Released April 2nd, Decoding efficiency translates the jargon and exposes errors that can actually lead to waste resulting from so-called ‘efficiency’ reforms.

CPD’s public service Research Director Christopher Stone contends that if we don’t want services to run down, we need to consider results as well as resources when measuring success. Politicians most often address this issue with promises of sweeping cuts, but what do they actually mean when they say ‘efficiency’?

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Starting Better proposes a Guarantee for Young Children and Families – a new pillar of Australia’s social deal.

Delivering the guarantee will make Australia the best place to be a child, and raise a family.

Arguments for reform often revolve around the presumption that the private sector is necessarily more efficient and effective than the public. Is this always true? Decoding efficiency outlines six ways in which market models can ‘mess up’. It explains three different economic definitions of efficiency, and then illustrates how mere equations simply cannot fully account for success or failure in service delivery.

Especially in an election year, every Australian deserves to take part in this debate – because this is our money, being spent on us and the things that matter to us.

This is the first in a series of installments from CPD’s upcoming ‘False Economies‘ report, which will investigate counterproductive cutbacks and their alternatives.