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PC News - May 2015

Report on Government Services 2015

This year marks the twentieth edition of the Report on Government Services — a remarkable milestone for a unique report providing comparative information on the performance of government services across Australian jurisdictions.

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A fast moving shot of a patient being rushed down a hospital corridor
A shot of the back of a female teacher writing equations on a blackboard
The base of large ornate pillars from a Government building

The Report on Government Services was commissioned in 1993 by Heads of Government (now COAG), with the first report produced in 1995. A new terms of reference issued in 2010 emphasised the Report's dual roles of improving service delivery, efficiency and performance, and increasing accountability to governments and the public.

A Steering Committee, comprising senior representatives from the central agencies of each of the Australian, State and Territory governments, and chaired by the Chairman of the Productivity Commission, manages the Review, with the assistance of a secretariat provided by the Productivity Commission.

On the release of the 2015 Report, Productivity Commission Chairman Peter Harris said: 'I commend all governments for their long-term commitment to transparency and accountability. Few exercises that rely on cooperation and consensus across governments and departments continue to thrive over two decades. The Report helps to drive improvements in the effectiveness of services, providing benefits to those who use them. It also helps to improve the efficiency of services, with potentially significant economic benefits — governments spent around $184 billion on the services covered in this year's Report, equivalent to around 12 per cent of Australia's national income.'

All services included in the Report affect the community in significant ways. Some services form an important part of the nation's social welfare system (for example, social housing and child protection services), some are provided to people with specific needs (for example, aged care and disability services), and others are typically used by each person in the community at some stage during their life (for example, education and training, health services, police services and emergency services).

  • Estimated government recurrent expenditure on services covered by the 2015 Report on Government Services

    Estimated government recurrent expenditure on services covered by the 2015 Report on Government Services. More details can be found within the text surrounding this image Data sources and caveats: see Report on Government Services 2015, figure 1.1.

Why measure comparative performance?

  • Comparative information on the performance of government service delivery contributes to the wellbeing of all Australians by encouraging improvements in those services. Public reports, such as the Report on Government Services, improve government accountability and create incentives for better performance, which can lead to major social and economic benefits.

    Traditionally much of the effort to improve the effectiveness of government services has focused on increasing the level of resources allocated to them. Another way of improving services is finding better ways of using existing resources. Performance measurement provides a way of shifting the focus from the level of resources to the efficient and effective use of those resources.

  • The three main reasons for reporting comparative performance information across jurisdictions are to:

    • verify high performance and identify agencies and service areas that are successful
    • enable agencies to learn from peers that are delivering higher quality and/or more cost effective services
    • generate additional incentives for agencies and services to improve performance.

Services covered in the 2015 Report on Government Services

    • Child care, education and training
      • Early childhood education and care
      • School education
      • Vocational education and training
    • Health
      • Primary and community health
      • Public hospitals
      • Mental health management
    • Housing and homelessness
      • Social housing
      • Homelessness services
    • Justice
      • Police services
      • Courts
      • Corrective services
    • Community services
      • Aged care services
      • Services for people with disability
      • Child protection services
      • Youth justice services
    • Emergency management
      • Fire and ambulance services

Report on Government Services 2015 — selected indicators

  • Homelessness

    Achievement of independent housing on exit (proportion of clients who needed assistance to obtain or maintain independent housing who obtained or maintained independent housing after support)

    'Achievement of independent housing' is an indicator of governments' objective to enable clients to participate as productive and self-reliant members of society at the end of their support period.

    Figure: Achievement of independent housing on exit (proportion of clients who needed assistance to obtain or maintain independent housing who obtained or maintained independent housing after support). More details can be found within the text surrounding this image

    Note: Calculated using the numerator Total number of clients who had an identified need for assistance with 'long term housing', to 'sustain tenancy or prevent tenancy failure or eviction' or to 'prevent foreclosures or for mortgage arrears', and had achieved independent housing at the end of support and the denominator Total number of clients who had an identified need for assistance with 'long term housing', to 'sustain tenancy or prevent tenancy failure or eviction' or to 'prevent foreclosures or for mortgage arrears'. A client's housing tenancy was determined at the end of their last closed support period in the reference year.

  • Primary and community health

    Health assessment for older people — proportion of older people assessed

    'Health assessment for older people' is an indicator of governments' objective to improve population health outcomes through the provision of prevention as well as early detection and treatment services.

    Figure: Health assessment for older people — proportion of older people assessed. More details can be found within the text surrounding this image

    Note: Older people are defined as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 55 years or over and non-Indigenous people aged 75 years or over. Excludes services that qualify under the DVA National Treatment Account and services provided in public hospitals and residential aged care.

  • School education

    Destination — Proportion of 15-24 year old school leavers fully participating in education and/or training, or employment, 2013

    'Destination' is an indicator of governments' objective of ensuring that school leavers make successful transitions from school and continue to improve their skills through further post-school education, training and/or employment. It is an indicator of students' post-school transitions into education, training and employment.

    Figure: Destination — Proportion of 15-24 year old school leavers fully participating in education and/or training, or employment, 2013. More details can be found within the text surrounding this image

    Note: Fully participating includes people primarily engaged in full time formal study, people primarily engaged in full time employment, people engaged in full time formal study and full time employment, and people engaged in part time formal study and part time employment.

    Data sources and caveats for these charts are available from the website for the Review of Government Service Provision www.pc.gov.au/research/recurring/report-on-government-services

Report on Government Services 2015

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