The Armchair Auditor

Eric Pickles has set out his direction of travel in a speech about what he clearly sees as the extravagent waste that is rife in local government.

But the rights or wrongs of that aren’t what’s got me thinking.  Rather it’s the decision to do away with the National Indicator set.

Pickles argues at one point that local commissioners may end up being more careful in what they pay for because of the (welcome) decision to publish data in ways that are more accessible than has been the case.  He sees the emergence of an ‘army of armchair auditors’ who’ll keep local politicians and officers feet to the fire.

My question is how?

Without consistent data across local authorities I fear that we won’t be able to know whether the services we get are better or worse than our neighbours, whether the outcomes that are measured here are the same as down the road?

It could be that I’ve misunderstood how this’ll pan out, and if so I’d appreciate being put right.


About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
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4 Responses to The Armchair Auditor

  1. citizenr says:

    A lot of my work is related to the NIs and I have to report on progress each month so when I’m gone there won’t be anyone to report on those particular ones. The same with many other people. With no one to report back on progress and ensure progress is being made, the NIs are redundant. Like the rest of us.

  2. neilhind says:


    I agree this will be intresting but I think there will be a range of people and organisations that will trawl through the data and make conclusions – some times the wrong conclusions I fear but….

    This is already starting even though more via FOIs than transparent data. i.e. The site has taken on a challenge with one supplier!


  3. Rebecca Packwood says:

    The strategy is simple, no data and nothing can be proven to get worse. Lots of cuts and no evidence to prove if they have made lives better or more to the point worse. The ideology is for a smaller state not a better one.

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