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Appropriateness indicators measure how well services meet client needs. An appropriateness indicator for the Supported Accommodation and Assistance Program, for example, is the proportion of clients receiving the services that they are assessed as needing. Appropriateness indicators also seek to identify the extent of any underservicing or overservicing (Renwick and Sadkowsky 1991).

Some services have developed measurable standards of service need against which the current levels of service can be assessed. The 'overcrowding' measure in housing, for example, measures the appropriateness of the size of the dwelling relative to the size of the household.

Other services have few measurable standards of service need; for example, the appropriate number of medical treatments available for particular populations is not known. However, data on differences in service levels can indicate where further work could identify possible underservicing or overservicing.