Let's just not count how effective government spending is, eh?

We have a report that a particular government program managed to spend a considerable amount of money and not achieve anything very much. According to The Guardian therefore we should not be asking to measure government spending by results.

Err, what?

According to Newsnight, the Ecorys report examined data from 56 local authorities and concluded there was “no discernible impact on the percentage of adults claiming out-of-work benefits either 12 or 18 months after starting on the programme” and “no obvious impact on the likelihood that adults were employed 12 or 18 months after starting on the programme”.

“Participation did not have any discernible impact on adult offending” seven to 18 months after the family was booked into the programme, it said.

Ecorys added: “Whilst it was more difficult to match the treatment and comparison groups when looking at child outcomes, the findings suggested that the programme also had no detectable impact on child offending.”

£1.3 billion of our money spent in order to show that David Cameron was a caring sort of chap. We think that there might be better uses of the cash squeezed out of the populace than that. However, The Guardian takes a different tack:

The troubled families scheme has failed – this is the folly of payment by results

No, that really is what they say:

It is time to call time on awarding public contracts which pay out for results, especially when the evidence for those results is so easy to manipulate .

Not really we feel. The time has come to insist upon only when paying out when results have been demonstrated.