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Using Community-Based Research to Affect Public Policy

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1 Using Community-Based Research to Affect Public Policy
CBR 301: Using Community-Based Research to Affect Public Policy

2 Starting Points: Research into Policy Action
Assumptions: you’ve done some good CBR you’ve identified unmet needs, gaps or barriers in existing services, problems that need solving at best, you’ve identified possible solutions to those problems so you’ve shown that policy or programme action is needed – and you may be able to point the way to the kind of policy and programme response needed now what?

3 Focus of This Workshop - How to translate community-based research into policy change
Upon completion of this workshop you will be able to: Submit research findings to those who need to know about them – and can act on them Identify the policy implications of the findings Develop concrete/workable policy alternatives in preparation for presenting to government Apply effective strategies and tactics for getting policy alternatives into action an equally important goal could be translating the research findings into better service delivery in your sector; not what this workshop is about, but the principles of knowledge exchange we will be talking about will apply to programme and service implications as well

4 Connections to Other Workshops
This is a basic overview in a series of workshops on ensuring CBR has policy impact CBR 308 looks at how the government policy process works and the creation of recommendations for policy decisions and implementation CBR 310 is about how to effectively write up and present those alternatives in the language of the policy trade

5 Warm-up How many people have been involved in CBR projects? - those who have been involved in an actual CBR project those who may not have been directly involved in the research itself, but know a lot about a particular project those who haven't yet done or been involved in CBR directly Briefly introduce yourself: what organization or sector you are from? why you need to know more about policy analysis and knowledge exchange – do you have a particular project in mind to roll out? what is the most important policy issue facing your organization or sector? 1. we introduced Wellesley, now we want you to introduce yourselves first of all, can’t assume all have been involved in CBR – let’s check 2. an easy question and then two harder -- give example -- how many of you are involved in housing, recent danger of SCIPI $ being reduced would have had a huge effect

6 Recap: Community-Based Research
quick re-cap -- to set this workshop in context should be about 10 by now, not much later

7 Defining Features of CBR
The ‘C’ of CBR means: communities identify problems and issues for research community people are involved in all stages of designing and actually undertaking the research community mobilization is one goal of the research another is sustainable capacity building

8 Defining Features of CBR Cont’d
to identify problems and opportunities for change to yield knowledge that can be acted on –so ensuring your research has impact is always one goal this includes in public policy – identifying areas where new or changed government policy is needed

9 Potential of CBR Findings and implications of research …
new needs or gaps in existing services identified community preferences or priorities determined barriers to getting services or support innovations or ‘best practices’ pilot test works systemic inequities uncovered point of today is to learn how to get from left column to the opposite actions

10 Potential of CBR Cont’d
What can be done with this knowledge? service providers adapt or expand services, govts fund policy or resource allocations reflect community priorities program or policy changes to reduce barriers other providers take them up adapt and generalize policy changes to address systemic basis

11 Exercise 1: Identifying the Policy Potential of CBR
In a group discuss CBR projects that you know or have been involved in that showed: how existing policies or programs were contributing to the particular problem being researched? key gaps where new govt programmes were needed? where existing programmes were not working well or did not have enough resources? did some show where changes in existing policy were needed? Pick one good example of research with real policy potential and fill out what this potential is Have someone report your example – and its policy potential – to the group should be starting this by 10:15 want this to be finished by 10:45 take 5-10 minutes for exercise then report back of only 2 minutes per table – as an exercise in effective presentation you’ve all heard idea of ‘elevator speech”

12 Turning Research into Policy Action
What needs to happen to get governments to act on the research & evidence you have found? Policy makers need to know about the research and its implications – your knowledge exchange strategy They need to understand the basis of the problem – which sometimes means even acknowledging that there is a problem They need to have concrete policy solutions or alternatives that will address whatever the problem is – which means you need to know how public policy process works They need the political will to act – which sometimes/often means they need to be forced to act should be starting by 10:45 summarize key points from group reports and discussions – to lead into this hopefully the reports back highlight that well-designed CBR can have real policy potential – getting the most of it is what we will focus on today

13 First Stage: Identify Policy Implications of Research
What does the research show about: how existing policy/programmes are addressing the problem unmet or unrecognized needs policy or programme barriers to access or quality delivery possible policy solutions to the problem

14 First Stage: Identify Policy Implications of Research
You know what needs to be done → then the challenge becomes how to make sure the necessary policy change actually happens In fact, you should be thinking about policy implications from the very start of designing the research process – since the point of CBR is to support change

15 What Is Public Policy? Very hard to define – because public policy affects almost all aspects of society and social life A public policy is a deliberate decision made by government(s) that addresses identified objectives and concerns for the public good. There can be considerable debate about what exactly is the ‘public good’ and how that is determined think of good examples from sectors people are from – ask a few people what polices affect their situation and prospects

16 What Is Public Policy? Often thought of as working to achieve goals considered to be in the best interests of society clean air, economic growth, a good health care system there is, of course debate on every issue like this – economic growth at the cost of a poor environment or social inequality? sustainable growth or the best market performance this year? does this mean everybody in society or does policy need to be targeted?

17 What is Public Policy II
Public policies operate at different levels: high-level vision and goals associated strategic objectives – or party/electoral priorities/promises operational workplans and activities resources and programmes to achieve objectives Public policy sets out the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of something that is to be done

18 What is Public Policy II
Policy works through a variety of instruments (e.g. laws, regulations, internal Ministry procedures, programme guidelines, expenditures, etc) Often involves allocations of funds and resources It involves three levels of govt and the complex interconnections between them – it is crucial to understand this jurisdictional and administrative complexity for every policy issue you are working on

19 Think of Policy Development as Process
A particular policy – or policy framework -- represents the result of decisions made on how best to address a particular objective or problem Sometimes this can be a deliberate decision not to decide – not to address a particular issue I say generally because there can also be reactive ‘fire-fighting’ policy on the run as civil servants scramble to respond to changing govt policy or public pressures

20 Think of Policy Development as Process
Within the public service there is a generally careful process of: identifying objectives assessing a range of possible actions to achieve the result analyzing against number of factors – effectiveness, cost, political context, public and community support, etc.

21 Think of Policy Development as Process
before choice is made about the most appropriate and workable means to the desired end always trade-offs, compromise , different “publics” effected increasingly complex, interconnected, horizontal

22 And of a Policy Development Cycle
we have a poster of this diagram to hang up

23 And of a Policy Environment What drives political/public policy decisions?
Timeframe of government’s business/election cycle –make the tough decisions early Short attention span of politics, short shelf life of policy – “In two years, it’s not my problem” Government’s policy agenda/priorities – where does this issue ‘fit’ within govt priorities Government’s communications agenda/priorities – at crudest, how will action or non-action make the govt look? is this consistent with how govt wants to present itself how many are familiar with this kind of thing? filled out more in CBR 308

24 And of a Policy Environment What drives political/public policy decisions?
Current/prospective health of government finances – and costs and benefits of particular policy alternatives Current/prospective economic cycle –view from Bay Street, global markets Values, beliefs, ethics – find the social consensus Stakeholders and interests – what competing interests and perspectives need to be taken into account? Media attention/perspective, opinion polls – understand the public mood

25 Politicians, Public Servants and Public Policy “How the System Really Works”
The Players: role of - and constraints on - legislators (Legislative branch) Ministers and Cabinet make policy (Executive branch) political staff in Ministers and Premier’s offices – very important complex hierarchy of civil servants – Deputy Ministers, ADMs, Directors etc. the courts finish this overview by 11:15

26 Politicians, Public Servants and Public Policy
The Process in Government so many demands, so little time; intensely rivalrous daily fire-fighting; often chaotic, reactive decision-making process highly risk averse (all the more so with new emphasis on “accountability”) critical role of central agencies – Finance, Cabinet Office need to know who decides what, when

27 Exercise 2 Identify one issue – either that you have done or are planning to do CBR in or that is especially important for your community sector The scenario is that you are just starting the planning process for CBR on that issue The task is to analyze the key features of the policy environment for the issue that you need to be aware of The deliverable is a two minute report outlining that policy environment to your research planning committee – the goal is to give the committee enough of an understanding of the policy environment to be able to plan out the research to have the most policy impact Pick one person to make that report to the group give them exercise and then take a 5 minute break start by 11:20 to get discussion on the exercise finished by 11:45

28 Ensuring your Research has Impact: 1. Knowledge Exchange
The first step in putting CBR into action = ensuring that policy makers and other key stakeholders know about your research and its implications Need to have a knowledge exchange strategy: who could benefit from this knowledge – who need to know? not just policy sphere, but other community groups or service providers how to get the info and analysis to them? in ways they can understand and use The starting point is to know your audience – in fact, get them involved in initial research design who is familiar with term KE?

29 Ensuring your Research has Impact: 2. Customize
depending upon the purpose of your research and your findings, there can be several potential audiences reporting back to community should always be one of the audiences report back meetings to check and confirm findings have to think about translation and context

30 Ensuring your Research has Impact: 2. Customize
If research shows how to improve or expand services, then the audience is service providers consider customized summary with programme implications present to conferences and other sectors forums specific e mail and other roll –out get into specific Listserves and other networks The main focus in this workshop is on CBR with policy implications – how to win policy change

31 Ensuring your Research has Impact: 3. Presentation
Write for specific audiences and environments plain language always always short summaries – at best, customized to audience and purpose use Web publications & other IT if you can use your findings as a hook – to get media attention, meet politicians, etc. Describe your methods – tell your audience exactly what it is that you did to come up with your results. Be descriptive & analytical. Use lots of quotes – with warning & permission Use tables, charts, figures, models & diagrams Contextualize – where does this data come from, who does it apply to Speak with confidence about your findings when you present them

32 Exercise: Getting Your CBR Out
Develop a knowledge exchange strategy for research in which you were involved or know about Using the kind of analysis we have been discussing – identify audiences messages for each potential means of dissemination how to build ongoing relationships with that audience, etc. Appoint one person to make a two minute report outlining your Knowledge Exchange strategy have finished intro points on KE by 12 then reporting back to finish by 12:30 then lunch, without an exercise

33 Getting CBR to policy makers
Good knowledge exchange to policy makers involve systematic outreach and follow up: Identify people who could be making the decisions – audience again Get findings & policy implications to them As part of long-term strategy to build relationships with key policy makers in your spheres customized reports for policy audience this as post-lunch segue to start at 1, not later than 1:15

34 Getting CBR to policy makers
Create customized policy implications summaries know the policy environment and way of thinking translate into terms they understand and with concrete recommendations they can act on Invest time in some solid policy analysis We’ll see more on how to do this kind of analysis now

35 Policy analysis 101: Start by Scanning the Landscape
1. Generally start your research planning by scanning the policy environment for your field (just like you do a literature review of previous research on the issue) 2. Know what the current policy situation/environment is for your issue to be able to develop realistic & workable alternatives to be able to couch your argument/demand – your ‘ask’ – in ways that are understandable to policy makers -- and winnable to analyze how/if your issue fits within existing policy framework and govt agenda to avoid embarrassment if your options have been tried already and didn’t work or were rejected how many have done this kind of scanning? more detail in appendix

36 Look widely: Comparative Policy Scanning
Great benefits to researching what policy alternatives have been tried or considered in other jurisdictions: Looking for how other jurisdictions have addressed similar policy problem Depending upon the issue – might mean other large cities, other prov, comparable countries Can yield: General ideas or options Examples of effective policies/programs that could be adapted for your purposes Justification for your alternatives – e.g. if cost-benefit was demonstrated elsewhere check how many have ever done such policy/issue scanning?

37 Then Develop Policy Options I
Think of a wide range of factors such as : How complex and big a policy change you are looking for Impact (balancing criteria such as equity, efficiency, stability) Cost – dig deeper here -- is it short-term, capital or operating, one-time or continuing, etc.? Versus benefits – especially if preventative or cost-saving in the long run isn’t this civil servant’s jobs? yes – but the more you can present well-formulated options – the more policy-ready the better – the more chance of success

38 Then Develop Policy Options I Cont’d ….
How do your recommendations and options fit with: Government agenda and priorities Electoral cycle, budget cycle and other timeframes Your organization or movement’s values and communities’ interests

39 Developing Options II What makes a policy option relevant?
It’s solidly grounded – your research evidence is clear and convincing It’s a simple concept – it’s easy to understand It’s a great story – it’s easy to explain, has a human dimension, has clear key messages It works – it solves the problem It reflects current or emerging values – it’s grounded in social consensus, it seems like the “right thing to do” from 308 mentioned fit and timing a number of times this doesn’t mean that community advocates and groups never take up issues that don’t fit govt agenda or timetables -- in fact, very often, community issues don’t fit it’s just that you need to know what the agenda is and try to ‘fit’ when it suits your values and interests – principled opportunism and where it doesn't fit or when the timing isn’t right – then you need to know that, to adjust your advocacy strategy

40 Developing Options II Cont’d What makes a policy option relevant?
It reflects “good government” – it shows political or community leadership to move towards social consensus Its benefits outweigh its costs Its investment can be justified – it’s cost-neutral or cost-effective It’s a new way of doing things – it’s innovative It “fits” – it delivers on the government’s policy, communications, and/or fiscal agenda

41 Developing Options III: Analyzing How it Could be Implemented
Consider the language of policy makers = instrument – what is used to implement the policy Evaluate in terms of continuum of factors just discussed Show the best means to achieve the policy objective all of this is very complex and specialized you have to understand enough to be able to develop your demands and not be embarrassed but don’t try to learn legislative drafting – get some help

42 Developing Options III: Analyzing How it Could be Implemented
Least Intrusive and intensive Most Intrusive and difficult Informal best practices (communities of practice, networks) Self- regulation Formal information dissemination Research and stakeholder funding Administrative policy Arm’s length relationships Tax, user fees, subsidy, other financial incentives Standing and advisory committees Program policy Contracts (accountability, governance) Non-arm’s length relationships Legislation, Regulation Restructuring (organizations, government)

43 Analyzing Options The Concept of “pros/cons,” “benefits/costs”
For government, assessing cost-benefits of options is standard part of policy process and risk management tool For you, posing recommendations/demands in these terms increases your credibility and usability

44 Analyzing Options The concept of “pros/cons,” “benefits/costs”
the benefits -- e.g., delivers a government commitment, equity, accountability/governance, social consensus, good messages or what lessens risk Cons the costs or what increases risk, e.g., lack of “fit,” inequity/disparate impact, inadequate resourcing (operating/capital costs, human), liabilities (financial, legal), complexity, lack of constitutional authority Never neutral or non-political process

45 Developing Recommendations What Turns a Policy Option into a Decision?
It reflects consensus or compromise – it’s the best deal It works – it solves the problem or at least makes it go away It manages risk well – it’s relatively “safe” It can lead to more change – it’s incremental It gives your community and the government an opportunity to engage - it carries the power of partnership It “fits” – it delivers on the government’s policy, communications, and/or fiscal agenda you will be balancing: what options has most chance of winning what is truest to community interests and perspectives

46 Developing Recommendations II How do You Describe the Key Elements of a Decision?
Reference the issue and how you’ve framed it – this solves the problem as we understand it Translate the policy solution into a communication strategy – this is what it means Explain the “why” - summarize and highlight the rationale, including the political benefit – this is why we’re recommending this Analyze and acknowledge the risks – legal challenge, cost pressures, inequity/disparate impact, adverse public/media/community reaction, being off-message, stakeholder pressures (“floodgates”), timing, etc.

47 Exercise 3 – Develop a Policy Issue
Pick 1 issue per table in which CBR you were involved in or know about had clear and significant policy implications Go through the kind of analysis we have been discussing – identify implications, understand the policy environment, analyze options, pick the most effective and winnable for your purposes Work up concrete policy options that you can take to govt to put your alternative into action Appoint 1 person to deliver 2 two minute report outlining your policy issue and why the option you have chosen should be adopted to start by 1:45 remember this can be hypothetical if you don’t have real data to back up options – but be concrete to finish reporting back by 2:15

48 Case Study Erika Khandor Street Health
CBR that identified barriers to homeless people with disabilities getting access to Ontario Disability Support Programme and piloted a model to overcome the barriers and a strategy to get results and recommended policy and programme actions to decision makers by 2:15 to finish by 3:00-15

49 Developing an Advocacy Strategy
Once you have developed concrete and workable policy options – how do you persuade decision makers in govt to act on them? start by 3:15 see also CAP workshop

50 Developing an Advocacy Strategy: For Effective Policy Advocacy you Need
luck – “the right issue at the right time” -- but be ready to seize opportunities when they arise -- proactive opportunism broad understanding of the issue and the political and public policy context in which it exists – emphasized earlier relevance of your objective to the govt's needs, priorities, context, constraints a winning style and approach -- likeability, civility, reliability ability to provide tangible, practical, useful assistance and recommendations that government can understand and use (“do-it- yourself public policy.” persistence

51 Social Movements and Political Change
The most effective advocacy campaigns – with the best chances of success – are part of wider coalitions and movements Think of the really significant historical shifts in public policy and the role of govts – where did they come from? employment equity would not have happened without strong women's and labour movements Medicare and public health system was the result of long campaigns treatment and funds for HIV/AIDS were won by grass-roots organizing All of these campaigns had effective policy demands and advocacy, but they also had collective strength and popular organizing behind them

52 Advocacy Strategy Planning Checklist
Overall strategic approach & objectives – what are you asking for? Positioning and framing – how do your demands relate to govt, to allied movements and campaigns, to the wider political environment? Key messages – adopting this policy will solve … Targets (officials, ministers, political staff, parties or legislators)

53 Advocacy Strategy Planning Checklist
Implementing Tactics meetings, briefings, media, grassroots consultations, stakeholders Timetable and staging (key decision-points etc.) Feedback / evaluation / re-Positioning – be flexible Management plan (who decides what) Budget

54 Take the ‘Long View’ Think long-term but also look for immediate winnable issues to build momentum and hope but be careful of co-optation & short-term reforms that deflect from long-term goals Caledon’s “relentless incrementalism” Have good peripheral vision as well -- situate your issue in relation to other comparable issues → to build coalitions the overall govt policy agenda -- back to ‘fit’ It is movements that win real change – not just individual advocacy campaigns, however good they are

55 Tactics I: Use Your Political Capital
Expertise you may know more about your issue – what it is and how to solve it - than most government advisers you have done the research and have the specific data Network and support how broad, diverse and connected your membership is your capacity to access, mobilize and activate communities of citizens, voters and taxpayers this is about playing to your group’s and community’s strengths

56 Tactics I: Use Your Political Capital
Leadership your record of creating vision and building trust past accomplishments and successes Credibility and reputation – your profile lends credibility to you (and the government) Passion – your commitment and energy for the issue Contacts and connections at political and official levels and among powerful community stakeholders who knows who in your organization or coalitions

57 Tactics I: Use Your Political Capital
It’s all about earning and widely spending your political capital ……

58 Tactics II: Build Coalitions
a movement trumps an individual group coalitions are effective but harder to manage choose your allies wisely

59 Tactics II: Build Coalitions
“usual suspects” coalitions good way to share expense and burden and show relative breadth can be useful way to cross-fertilize and enrich narrative and objectives can also get bogged down in same-old, same-old “strange bedfellows” coalitions much greater political and media impact focus on what unites not what divides much more labour intensive and likely to be false starts

60 Tactics III: Pubic Relations and Media
Understand the Media As business: news = circulation = advertisers Possible friend or foe Build relationships – understand reporters’ lives tell a people story a picture is worth 1,000 words spin yes; misrepresentation no they love you to do their work for them the “exclusive” Name your work or campaign populist, marketing spin if you don’t, others will Have a good spokesperson one voice, consistent message always accessible trained & experienced

61 Exercise Pick one issue per table in which CBR you were involved in or know about had clear and significant policy implications Using the advocacy planning checklist we have been discussing → develop a preliminary advocacy strategy for the issue Appoint 1 person to deliver a 2 minute report outlining your policy issue and why the option you have chosen should be adopted if by 3:30, then do this if it is already 3:45, then do as group exercise

62 How will you know when you’ve won?
Refer back to your strategic goals Build success indicators into your strategic planning: they might be very specific -- getting policy recommendation X adopted by Y or they could be starting points in a long strategy -- getting the issue discussed and at least shifting the public policy agenda or framework Be internally rigorous and honest: have we been achieving our objectives? what do we need to change about our policy demands or advocacy to become successful?

63 Tips & Techniques for Policy Scans
Define problem/question as clearly as possible Define scope of review e.g. child care policy in all prov? Just larger? Other countries? quality comparisons between commercial and non-profit provision how has child care been funded in other jurisdictions – to help evaluate current govt proposals Define timeframe – how old is too old for info? Start on the phone – with experts -- but prepare Tip: see phoning expert as an interview Have a sense of the nature of the issue before you call Do some preliminary research Review press clippings on the issue – library / internet This isn’t just gathering info, but can also help you figure out where to look or help to clarify/refine your basic question

64 Appendix: Policy Scanning
To be able to take your findings effectively into the policy sphere, you need to know what the current policy situation/environment is for your particular issue: Plan your research project so that it will have the most impact Develop realistic & workable alternatives you can take to policy makers Understand how/if your issue fits within the existing policy framework and govt agenda Couch your argument/demand – your ‘ask’ – in ways that are understandable to policy makers -- and winnable

65 Policy Scanning Tips Review policy framework for particular issue:
Policy guidelines, directives, programme manuals, etc. for particular programs Ministry backgrounders for particular alternatives/issues Task forces, commissions, federal-provincial and other reports can be useful background

66 Policy Scanning Tips Understand legislative & regulatory framework for issue: Not usually in great detail – or get a lawyer when you need them Don't waste time reading legislation -- look for: compendiums and explanatory notes for Bills commercial and legal updating services Ask the experts in Ministry or community

67 Policy Scanning Tips II
In the era of e-government: Published docs will be on-line Most Internet policy research will be quite focused/directed: start from established Ministry sites, links pages of major organizations, etc. Start from your own favourites Use internal search engines on govt and Ministry sites one site/source will lead to another

68 Policy Scanning Tips II
Remember: most of the really relevant info on policy background and implementation is not published or is really hard to find Use your contacts – who can advise who to call Call around the Ministry directories are on line -- find the person who knows the issue & background Ask them what key policy guidelines and reports are and where to find them

69 Policy Scanning Tips III
Conduct literature reviews: Early in the process to help define research or policy issue Cultivate your academic or professional friends Sources general techniques of Internet searching -- Google, libraries & databases Political science, policy, public admin, academic & professional journals and books Professional & practitioner magazines/journals – e.g. social work Resources & databases are not free → find & use a university or big library how many have done lit reviews?

70 Focus of This Workshop - How to translate community-based research into policy change
Having completed this workshop you are now able to: Submit research findings to those who need to know about them – and can act on them Identify the policy implications of the findings Develop concrete/workable policy alternatives in preparation for presenting to government Apply effective strategies and tactics for getting policy alternatives into action an equally important goal could be translating the research findings into better service delivery in your sector; not what this workshop is about, but the principles of knowledge exchange we will be talking about will apply to programme and service implications as well

71 Workshop Evaluation Your feedback is extremely important
Please complete the workshop evaluation Thank you

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