Comment évaluer les services publics ?

Comment juger de la qualité d'un service public ? La question est plus délicate qu'il n'y paraît. Dans certains cas, la réponse paraît simple ; on peut par exemple évaluer la ponctualité des trains. Mais est-ce la seule chose que l'on attend des trains ?

Sans doute pas. Car ils doivent non seulement être à l'heure, mais avoir des horaires convenables et une fréquence suffisante ; ils doivent être sûrs et offrir un certain niveau de confort. Et surtout, ils doivent être abordables. La liste des critères d'évaluation s'allongeant, il est évident que la ponctualité est seulement l'un de ces critères, le plus facile à mesurer, mais pas nécessairement le plus important.

C'est là un bon exemple des différentes manières de gérer les services publics. Or cette question fait l'objet de débat dans de nombreux pays, car elle se trouve au coeur de la politique budgétaire (parce qu'on veut réduire le budget) et fiscale (parce que l'on veut diminuer les impôts). Pour rester dans l'esprit du temps, les gouvernements utilisent les critères du monde des affaires pour évaluer l'efficacité et plus généralement la "réussite" des services publics. Cela se traduit avant tout en objectifs à atteindre.

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