Pullinger in targets warning

John Pullinger, the incoming chief executive of the UK Statistics Authority, has warned that the poor use of data and targets risks “skewing the way we understand the world” rather than improving it.


By Suzannah.Brecknell

29 May 2014

Speaking to The Times this week, Pullinger said: “We have numbers everywhere but haven’t been well-schooled on how to use them and that’s where problems occur”.

He pointed to school league tables as an area where increased availability of data could be driving perverse behaviours, and said policymakers need to better understand how people respond to incentives and targets. “The whole point of all these things is to change behaviour,” he said. “The trick is to have a sophisticated understanding of what will happen when you put these things out.”

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