24 May 2016

Answering the phone quickly is not a health goal

Another story - this from the UK - shows what happens when we have Mickey Mouse micro-objectives rather than broad meaningful goals:
In January 2016, Lincolnshire Police began an investigation after an allegation that staff within the Force Control Room were calling 999 at quiet times, to ensure calls were picked up quickly to improve performance statistics. ... Today [23 May], five Force Control Room staff have been suspended from duty and have been informed they are under investigation. Source
('999' is the emergency phone number in the UK.) I've been inveighing against these micro-goals for years (here's my first blog post on the subject). Their basic problem is that they arise from the narrow, short-term needs of organizations, rather than the people these organizations are supposed to serve. They're too easy to game, and their achievement is - to put it kindly - not inextricably linked to improvements in the well-being of ordinary people.

A Social Policy Bond regime would be different. We'd target for improvement broad, meaningful goals, such as the health of the entire population. Bondholders would benefit by financing projects that accelerate the achievement of society's targeted outcomes, rather than, as so often today, turning up for work and fulfilling some meaningless quota.

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