The Explorer covers 17 government departments, and now includes 766 services – an increase of 49 on September’s release.
The number of services fluctuates over time as departments improve their reporting processes, and as new services are introduced and other close or merge. The increase this quarter is largely due to the Department of Health extending the number of services it reports from 48 to 95, making it the department with the largest number of services after the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
What’s the cost and what are we doing with the data?
The latest data release covers the period from July 2012 to Jun 2013, and includes the cost per transaction for over 100 services. Cost per transaction ranges from less than a penny to over £1000 per transaction, with a median figure per service of about £4.
When we set up the Transactions Explorer, one of our aims was to encourage departments to make better use of data to improve their services. Intelligent use of data can indicate if people like your service, if they find it easy to use, how much it costs, and what the potential for savings is; but the availability of performance measures for government services has historically been poor.
A year later, and it’s satisfying to see data being taken more seriously across government. There’s a long way to go, but many organisations are clearly committed to reviewing and improving the way they collect and use data.
What are the challenges?
Unfortunately, these changes have made one of our other aims more challenging. We had hoped to be able to monitor improvements to services over time by now, but as people are still refining the way they collect data, useful quarter-on-quarter comparisons aren’t always possible.
In the coming months, we’ll be looking at how we can address this, and how we can take further steps to integrate the Explorer more closely with other performance dashboards which give a more detailed view of services.
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