Which are the best performing government departments?

On Friday at 5pm (which was an excellent time to bury bad news) the government released the first report of the Major Projects Authority. The MPA has given traffic light codes to a range of “Major projects”.

Hearteningly, the data for this exercise are available (in bits and pieces) online. If we take all the project codes, and assign numbers to them (Red = 1; Red/Amber = 2; Amber = 3; Amber/Green = 4; Green= 5), then how do government departments fare?

If you just take the average, you get something like this:

Dept. Score
NS&I 2
HMT 2.5
DCMS 2.8
ONS 2.8
CO 3.2
DCLG 3.25
DWP 3.33
HO 3.42
MOD 3.46
DfT 3.47
BIS 3.5
DfE 3.5
MoJ 3.5
FCO 3.67
HMRC 3.67
DoH 3.71
DfID 4

But of course the first and last in class are only there because they’ve just managed one project which went well (or badly) respectively.

Interesting, if we perform an ANOVA on this, taking the scores as continuous, then we wouldn’t be able to conclude that there are significant differences in departments (F(18,151)=0.613; p = 0.885).*

Given the strong idea of the generalist civil servant, that’s perhaps to be expected. But these scores are definitely going to be a useful resource for future students of public administration who might be able to coax a bit more out of the data.

* This is also true if you run an ordered probit.

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