Review of targets and indicators for health and social care in Scotland

Independent national review into targets and indicators for health and social care.

Why is this review taking place?

1. A target is a way of expressing the priority of an organisation. Setting a target lets members of the organisation know what is expected of them in terms of delivery of a service to the public. Indicators show how an organisation is progressing in pursuit of its aims. Together, they let citizens know what to expect of the organisation. Public sector organisations such as government departments, local authority services and health boards have their own management and accountability structures and yet they are all part of a complex system of organisations and services which must work effectively together if they are to deliver better outcomes for citizens.

2. Experience with existing targets and indicators has been positive in many respects. Significant improvements have been seen in many aspects of health and social care following their introduction. However, frontline staff and managers have often expressed frustration at the way in which targets have affected their priorities and there is a perception that a more collaborative approach to setting the agenda for public services might lead to better outcomes.

3. In reviewing existing targets and indicators for health and social care, this report considers first what the policy framework for public sector bodies tells us about the aims and objectives of the health and social care system. Secondly, it reviews the evidence as to how we might develop targets and indicators as effective measures of progress towards those objectives. Finally, it suggests how existing targets might become more effective in ensuring progress is made in transforming health and wellbeing in Scotland. Central to this recommendation is the concept that methods for improving delivery of services should be designed and implemented jointly by those who deliver services, those accountable for service delivery and those citizens who make use of those services.

4. Before effective targets can be set, it is necessary to be clear about the overall objectives of this complex system, the methods by which those objectives will be delivered and the information that can be used to measure progress towards those objectives.


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