Headlines: July 18th, 2000

The NHS is leading the public sector towards greater openness by publishing performance information about local health and social care on the Internet. The information, which will be available by the end of the year, will include quantity and quality indicators. There will be details of patient waiting lists as well as death rates and patient emergency re-admission details. This information will supplement the high level performance indicators which currently are only available at Health Authority and Trust level.Setting out information at the local level in the way proposed is following the trend set in the Government’s Annual Report. Visitors to www.annualreport.gov.uk  can insert a postcode and see high level performance information for the locality. Some information at this level is also available at www.upmystreet.com   where data such as the performance of schools and crime clear up rates are set out by postcode.

It is believed that Ministers view publishing information about the performance of public services at the local level as a powerful lever in driving up standards. It is expected that pressure will build up for disclosure of comprehensive information about the performance of councils and police, courts and fire services. This will be extended to joined-up services such as local crime prevention partnerships. The aim is to give local people a clear picture of how public services are performing in their area so that they can exert stakeholder pressure for improvement. In the longer term performance information will be supplemented by targets so that it can readily be seen what progress is being made and where services are succeeding or failing.

Although there are no plans to bring all this information together to present a joined-up postcode picture, it is likely that upmystreet.com will fill this gap. The site already has software that allows data to be compared graphically.