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Public Service Data Dashboards

Welcome to the public service data dashboards.

These dashboards were produced by the Efficiency Measurement Unit at the Office for National Statistics. They bring together data on spend, inputs, outputs and outcomes which help build an understanding of public service efficiency. There are currently four dashboards covering: education, health, work and pensions and criminal justice.

A huge array of data exists to help build the picture of public service efficiency, released in separate publications by a range of public service bodies, making it difficult to view through an efficiency lens. As a result, conversations tend to be about which data to use as opposed to what messages we can take from the data. These dashboards bring relevant data together in one place to enable users, from the departments and HM Treasury through to the public, to have a shared understanding of the efficiency story. The dashboards are not intended to have comprehensive coverage of all relevant data, but instead provide an overview and a starting point for those who wish to undertake further analysis. Depending on the specific efficiency question being addressed, other data not included in the dashboard may be more appropriate to use.

Caution should be taken when comparing indicators from the four aspects of efficiency (spending, inputs, outputs and outcomes), as they may not be comparable due to differences in the definitions used or coverage of services. For instance, output indicators may not cover all the activities funded by the expenditure recorded in the spend indicators.

The relationship between different aspects of efficiency will also be affected by a range of external factors. It is therefore important not to assume that changes in spending and inputs to a public service are the only factors that drive changes in outputs and outcomes. For example, the education dashboard includes spending and inputs on public funded education. However, the outcome measure of exam results will also be impacted by parental involvement and private tutoring. Finally, changes to spending and inputs often take time to have an impact, so there may be a delay before changes seen in spending and inputs feed through to outputs and outcomes.

Decisions as to what statistics to include in the dashboards were taken by reviewing the Single Departmental Plans and through discussions with the Departments and HM Treasury. We decided not to use data held in the HM Treasury’s OSCAR (Online System for Central Accounting and Reporting) system for the dashboards’ spend segments. This is because the most recent public OSCAR release does not contain the level of detail needed to populate the dashboards to a sufficient level. Although we have engaged with departments during the production of these dashboards, it is important to note that they are an ONS product rather than that of the government departments or the Government Statistical Service (GSS).

The dashboards do not include any new data. They draw on a broad range of existing National and Official Statistics as well as published management information, bringing them together into an interactive tool under the efficiency headings. Data in each public service dashboard is chosen for its suitability for understanding that service and so data for different service sectors is not always comparable. For example, spend data in the education dashboard may not be directly equivalent to spend data displayed in the health dashboard. The dashboards also include some commentary on the data as well as important data caveats and links to the underlying data sources. This can be found in the ‘Page information’ tabs of the dashboards. A basic user guide can be found here which also outlines dashboard functionality information. Please note, the functionality of the dashboards may be affected if JavaScript is not enabled in your web browser.

The dashboards are being released as an experimental ‘Beta’ product to gain feedback that we will use to inform the next stage of development. We are continuously striving to improve the quality of these dashboards and would welcome feedback on how they are being used and what improvements we should consider for future iterations.

If you have any queries or would like to provide feedback, please contact:

You can also provide feedback by completing our survey.

1 The dashboards are published on the GSS website as they are built in Power Bi and cannot be hosted on the ONS website currently and they also bring together data from across the GSS.

2 A beta test is the second phase of software testing in which users from the intended audience try the product out.