Addictions to targets

From The Challenge of Co-Production published by NESTA:

One former member of the Bristol drugs action team complained that he had to keep his eyes on 44 different funding streams, nine different grids and 82 different objectives imposed on him by managers, funders and the government. Before he resigned, he reckoned that he and his colleagues spent less than 40 per cent of their time actually tackling drugs issues. He compared his management regime to a kind of addiction: “Monitoring has become almost religious in status, as has centralised control”, he said. “The demand for quick hits and early wins is driven by a central desire analogous to the instant gratifcation demands made by drug users themselves.” The target regime has delivered an illusory control to the centre, based on inaccurate data which, from the perspective of the challenges we now face, is actually hugely ineffcient.

2 thoughts on “Addictions to targets

  1. Matt Moore

    This reminds me a lot of Mark Fisher’s blogging about “business ontology” and the management of targets as a replacement for real work.

    Mark has a background in continental philosophy which can make his writing a little unreadable at times but I think some of his concerns are spot on:


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