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

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

2 Starting Points: Research into Policy Action Assumptions: youve done some good CBR youve identified unmet needs, gaps or barriers in existing services, problems that need solving at best, youve identified possible solutions to those problems so youve 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: 1.Submit research findings to those who need to know about them – and can act on them 2.Identify the policy implications of the findings 3.Develop concrete/workable policy alternatives in preparation for presenting to government 4.Apply effective strategies and tactics for getting policy alternatives into action

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?

6 Recap: Community-Based Research CBR capacity enhancing community relevance collaboration joint data ownership social action outcomes sound methods ethical review process- oriented

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 Contd 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

10 Potential of CBR Contd 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

12 Turning Research into Policy Action What needs to happen to get governments to act on the research & evidence you have found? 1.Policy makers need to know about the research and its implications – your knowledge exchange strategy 2.They need to understand the basis of the problem – which sometimes means even acknowledging that there is a problem 3.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 4. They need the political will to act – which sometimes/often means they need to be forced to act

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

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

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

23 Timeframe of governments business/election cycle –make the tough decisions early Short attention span of politics, short shelf life of policy – In two years, its not my problem Governments policy agenda/priorities – where does this issue fit within govt priorities Governments 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 And of a Policy Environment What drives political/public policy decisions?

24 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 Premiers offices – very important complex hierarchy of civil servants – Deputy Ministers, ADMs, Directors etc. the courts

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

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

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

33 Getting CBR to policy makers Good knowledge exchange to policy makers involve systematic outreach and follow up: 1.Identify people who could be making the decisions – audience again 2.Get findings & policy implications to them 3.As part of long-term strategy to build relationships with key policy makers in your spheres customized reports for policy audience

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 Well 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 didnt work or were rejected

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

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

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

39 Developing Options II What makes a policy option relevant? Its solidly grounded – your research evidence is clear and convincing Its a simple concept – its easy to understand Its a great story – its easy to explain, has a human dimension, has clear key messages It works – it solves the problem It reflects current or emerging values – its grounded in social consensus, it seems like the right thing to do

40 Developing Options II Contd 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 – its cost-neutral or cost- effective Its a new way of doing things – its innovative It fits – it delivers on the governments 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

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 Arms length relationships Tax, user fees, subsidy, other financial incentives Standing and advisory committees Program policy Contracts (accountability, governance) Non-arms 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 Pros: 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 – its the best deal It works – it solves the problem or at least makes it go away It manages risk well – its relatively safe It can lead to more change – its incremental It gives your community and the government an opportunity to engage - it carries the power of partnership It fits – it delivers on the governments policy, communications, and/or fiscal agenda

46 Developing Recommendations II How do You Describe the Key Elements of a Decision? Reference the issue and how youve 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 were 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

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

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?

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 Caledons 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

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 Its 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 dont, 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

62 How will you know when youve 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 isnt 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

70 Focus of This Workshop - How to translate community-based research into policy change Having completed this workshop you are now able to: 1.Submit research findings to those who need to know about them – and can act on them 2.Identify the policy implications of the findings 3.Develop concrete/workable policy alternatives in preparation for presenting to government 4.Apply effective strategies and tactics for getting policy alternatives into action

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

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