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Does NSW need an Implementation Unit?

Today’s announcement of a radical overhaul of the New South Wales state plan by Premier Mike Baird was not shy about adding performance indicators to almost everything undertaken by a state agency — and their minister.

In a drop to The Australian newspaper, Baird explained the streamlined priorities, down from 186 targets and 321 measures, to 12 Premier’s priorities and 18 state priorities.

“There are so many parts to government. Everyone wants to do good things, but where’s the direction? Where do we want to go? This gives it a sharp focus, and there’s a sense of accountability.

“Tony Blair, in this reflections, said they did a lot of things in their first term but didn’t really achieve what they wanted to, so he brought in 10 priorities that they wanted to focus on in their second term and they had a lot of success.”

Development continues on the daily ‘dashboard’ measuring progress that will eventually be made available to all departments and the public through NSW’s open government policy and data.nsw.gov.au.

“What gets measured gets done. In government, there is such a capacity to hide. This takes that away. It’s very clear where we are going, what we want to achieve.

“My personal experience working in the private sector, you know what’s happening for your division and the company, and the key metrics, and what your role is to achieve them.

“This does that across the whole of government.”

Blair achieved this in his British government through the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, situated in the Cabinet Office. David Cameron, for his turn, instigated an implementation unit.

Can a digital dashboard replace what those two models achieved for keeping government on course?

Author Bio

Harley Dennett

Harley Dennett is editor at The Mandarin based in Canberra. He's held communications roles in the New South Wales public sector and Defence, and been a staff reporter for newspapers in Sydney and Washington DC.