Thursday, 9 May 2013

Wow, talk about being pointlessly picky ...

The chair of the UK Statistics Authority Andrew Dilnot  has been openly mocked by the Department of Work and Pensions for having “an obsession with provable and verifiable statistics” after issuing what is described as ”a feeble and totally unjustifiable complaint about Minister’s at the DWP making things up.”

The spat centres around the DWP’s increasing use of what Dilnot refrains from describing as ”figures pulled from the air in order to be supplied to the media and used in speeches and statements in support of claim’s made about the effect of policies initiated by the department”.  Dilnott, who in his complaint also steers well clear of suggestions that DWP Minister’s might be guilty of untruths or deliberately misleading parliament and the electorate, also observes that he made a similar complaint not that long ago, and believed he was given assurances that everyone at the DWP had been given clear and unequivocal instructions not to be caught doing the things that Dilnot has been at pains not to spell out in simple and direct language again.

A spokesman for the DWP said the anecdotal responses of junior ministers and members of the Employment Related Services Association who were presently benefiting from the Work Programme and wished to continue to do so to the letter from Dilnot fully supported Secretary of State for Work and Pension’s Iain Duncan Smith's open contempt for “bureaucratic  pedantry”.

"The secretary of state has long held the position that actual verifiable statistics would have an adverse impact on the public’s perception of how effectively he and his Minister’s are dealing with shirkers and scroungers” he said.

"As the minister for employment made clear in a recent interview, ERSA members are telling us the made up figures policy is especially effective for them too, and they are more than happy to supply us with made up figures of their own at the drop of a hat, which we can then, with their blessing, disseminate as our own made up figures.  Imagine how terribly depressing it would be for us, and ERSA, if we were forced by some faceless bureaucrat supported by some typical New Labour red tape legislation to only publish proper verified statistics.” 

He added “we at the DWP are very much wedded to the ‘What Works’ philosophy and quite clearly telling the odd porkie is ‘What Works’ - well it works for us."


Mark Wadsworth said...

The ONS did a fine job of embarrassing New Labour as far as possible, it's just that the Tories are even bigger liars. Serve 'em right.

A K Haart said...

"Dilnott, who in his complaint also steers well clear of suggestions that DWP Minister’s might be guilty of untruths or deliberately misleading parliament and the electorate"

Even though that one is provable.

Mark Wadsworth said...

AKH, the ONS use wonderful bureaucrat speak when they are insulting people. It's very very dry humour, if you like that sort of thing.

Bob E said...

AKH, MW - according to Nick Cohn in his article "Lies, damned lies and Iain Duncan Smith" in the Observer []

"Last week, the UK Statistics Authority gave him a reprimand that broke from the genteel language of the civil service".