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Politics. What Counts?

Political leaders get the brunt of performance questions in determining policy, delivering services, and securing the confidence of voters. Should we quantify their performance? We absolutely should, and it is already being done. Looking through the discussions on politics on a local level, there are complaints in Aberdeen that local councillors are overpaid and underperforming, that Theresa May is failing in Brexit negotiations, and that Trump is not mentally fit to be in Office. And Corbyn is a Soviet sympathiser.

Cutting through discourse and narratives to the core of the performance of political leaders seems timely. Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) is a Ugandan public policy and advocacy think tank. ACODE designed the Local Government Councils’ Score-Card, a tool to assess local government council performance with indicators derived from the principle roles and responsibilities of the local councils laid out in the Local Government Act. Learn more here

Meanwhile, in India, the Public Affairs Centre (PAC) is a not for profit think tank that works to improve the quality of governance in India. PAC created the Citizens’ Report Card to monitor efficiency and accountability in government services. This was done by gathering citizen feedback on the performance of public agencies and sharing findings with citizens using a seven-point rating scale that quantified citizen satisfaction levels on service delivery, dimensions of corruption, and staff behaviour. Learn more here

In Mexico, an organisation called ‘Fáctico’ worked with local comedians who historically shamed the government with humour for failing to deliver services; together, they launched an app where people can make 30-second videos issues with infrastructure and public services, geo-tagging them. 10,000 people signed up in the first few weeks. Now, government bodies can use the information and see the issue highlighted by citizens in areas that local services are responsible for. It’s plain to see who is performing. Learn more here

Nonsense rhetoric is a massively effective way to entrench political positions and use tax payer time in Parliament for verbal slanging matches about who did (or did not) do what. A better understanding of tangible political performance demonstrates who political structures and staff serve. In the UK, the public elects Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons.

Should Brits consider quantifying the performance of political leaders?

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