This article at the BBC News website (Tables "affect university policy") reports that universities' policies are strongly influenced by their effect on the various league tables that are used to compare universities. That fact will not be surprising to most academics. The article is about a New report compiled by HEFCE, Counting what is measured or measuring what counts? that raises the concern that league tables may have a bad effect on universities themselves, and may fail to measure the quaities that they purport to measure.
Since they compiled by the popular press, often in haste, and without the attention to detail and rigour that we take for granted in the acedemic world, we should not be surprised by this finding. The one thing we can sure of is, however, that they will undoubtedly continue to exist in their present form, and will continue to be used extensively by, for example, prospecitive students, simply because that's all the comparative analysis they've got.