Intergenerational report: call for smarter programs, tighter control

Tool of Treasury, or tool of treasurer? One thing is certain: nobody fell off their chairs. The Mandarin spoke with experts on what agencies need to take away from the Intergenerational Report.

Government agencies, and in particular Treasury, must start measuring and improving the efficacy of social output programs as they chew up increasing proportions of future spending, onlookers have warned following the release of the 2015 Intergenerational Report.

Dr Andrew Young from the University of New South Wales’ Centre for Social Impact says it’s disappointing to see a lack of analytical thinking on the expenditure side to match the analysis on the income side.

“The mission of Treasury is to improve the wellbeing of the Australian people based on objective and thorough analysis of options … Treasury just isn’t fulfilling that function,” Young told The Mandarin. “There’s no analysis anywhere of whether we can improve our productivity in social spending.

“Where is the data on wellbeing, however you want to define it? It’s very tangible in some ways. When senior Treasury officials convened a roundtable with not-for-profit CEOs on how we can improve productivity in social spending, absolutely the right question, I asked what the mission of government was? He said: wellbeing. I asked: where’s your data? He said: we don’t have any.

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