Labour's public service targets 'in tatters'
The targets used by Welsh Labour ministers to measure public service performance are ‘in tatters’ and urgent improvements are required across the country.
That’s the focus of a Welsh Conservative debate in the Senedd today (Wednesday).
Assembly Members will highlight health and education in particular – and call on Labour ministers to avoid simply removing or altering targets for their own benefit.
Welsh Conservative motion for debate:
The National Assembly for Wales:
1. Regrets the repeated and persistent failure of the Welsh Government to meet its own key targets linked to the delivery of key public services; and the damaging consequences this has for the people of Wales.
2. Believes the Welsh Government must show absolute transparency in measuring public service performance.
3. Fears the removal, redefinition or altering of targets linked to public service delivery prevents the people of Wales being able to adequately hold the Welsh Government to account; and distorts scrutiny of their long-term, repeated failure.
This year’s GCSE results fell well short of Labour’s self-imposed target for improvement. Speaking in the Assembly this year, the First Minister said: ‘We’re in a good position this summer to be on a par and, we hope, doing better than England when it comes to GCSEs.’ In reality, the attainment gap widened and the number of top grades fell from 19.4 per cent to 19.2 per cent.
Wales has also fallen down the international rankings for global pupil test results (PISA). We performed worst of all UK nations in the most recent results - despite Labour’s repeated promises of improvement.
NHS performance is another clear indicator of failed Labour targets on public service performance.
The number of patients on a waiting list has doubled since Carwyn Jones became Labour’s First Minister in 2009 – to 443,844. At the end of July, the number of people waiting more than nine months for their first hospital appointment stood at 27,313; amongst the highest it has ever been.
The target is zero.
Similarly, Labour’s eight minute ambulance response time target for immediately life-threatening calls has been met just once in almost two years. The Welsh Labour government is now introducing a new model for performance measurement.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Education, Angela Burns AM, will lead tomorrow’s debate.
“Despite the hard work of staff, it’s clear that public services are failing and Labour’s targets are in tatters.
“Poor educational performance and shameful NHS waiting times continue to be a national scandal that show no sign of going away.
“Labour has managed our public services for 16 years and the only answer their ministers can muster is to reform targets.
“That’s not acceptable and will only serve to muddy the waters of public confidence.
“Transparency in public service performance must be boosted at all costs and targets – missed so many times by Labour - must be hit.”