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Www.gsr.gov.uk Government Social Research Unit Impact and Insight Seminar Overseas Development Institute 17 October 2005 Evidence-Based Policy at the Cabinet.

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Presentation on theme: "Www.gsr.gov.uk Government Social Research Unit Impact and Insight Seminar Overseas Development Institute 17 October 2005 Evidence-Based Policy at the Cabinet."— Presentation transcript:

1 Government Social Research Unit Impact and Insight Seminar Overseas Development Institute 17 October 2005 Evidence-Based Policy at the Cabinet Office Philip Davies PhD Government Social Research Unit Cabinet Office London SW1A 2WH

2 Government Social Research Unit Impact and Insight Seminar Overseas Development Institute 17 October 2005 Making Public Policy More Evidence-Based Philip Davies PhD Government Social Research Unit Cabinet Office London SW1A 2WH

3 Outline Why evidence-based policy? Factors other the evidence Different types of evidence Some Problems Some solutions

4 Why Make Public Policy More Evidenced-Based? Effectiveness - ensure we do more good than harm Efficiency - use scarce public resources to maximum effect Service Orientation - meet citizens needs/expectations Accountability - transparency of what is done and why Democracy - enhance the democratic process Trust - help ensure/restore trust in government and public services

5 What is Evidence-Based Policy? Evidence-based policy helps people make well- informed decisions about policies, programmes and projects by putting the best available evidence from research at the heart of policy development and implementation (Davies, P.T., 1999a)

6 Factors Influencing Policy Making Evidence Experience & Expertise Judgement Resources Values and Policy Context Habits & Tradition Lobbyists & Pressure Groups Pragmatics & Contingencies

7 Different Types of Evidence for Policy Impact Evidence Implementation Evidence Descriptive Analytical Evidence Economic and Econometric Evidence Ethical Evidence Experimental Quasi-Experimental Counterfactual Surveys Admin Data Comparative Qualitative Cost-Benefit Cost-Effectiveness Cost-Utility Econometrics Experimental Quasi-Experimental Qualitative Theories of Change Social Ethics Public Consultation Statistical Modelling Multivariate Analysis Attitudinal Evidence Surveys Qualitative

8 Evidence-Based Policy Opinion-Based Policy Evidence-Based Policy Increasing Pressure (Time) Adapted from: Muir Gray 1997

9 Problem 1 - Social Scientific Knowledge Not all research is of sufficient quality Uncertainty of scientific knowledge Different status of different fields of knowledge Unclear objectives Poor research design Methodological weaknesses Inadequate data reporting Selective use of data Unsupported conclusions

10 Evidence-Based Policy Adapted from: Muir Gray 1997 Opinion-Based Policy Increasing Pressure (Time) Evidence-Based Policy

11 Policy Makers Evidence Colloquial (Contextual) Anything that seems reasonable Policy relevant Timely Clear Message Researchers Evidence Scientific (Context free) Proven empirically Theoretically driven As long as it takes Caveats and qualifications Problem 2 - Different Notions of Evidence

12 Problem 2 – UK Policy Makers Types of Evidence Quantitative and statistical evidence Economic evidence Qualitative evidence Surveys and attitudinal evidence Consultation evidence Behavioural evidence Anecdotal evidence Hard and soft evidence International evidence Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Evidence Systematic review/meta-analytical evidence X X

13 Problem 3 - Getting Research Into the Evidence Chain

14 Problem 4 – Uncertain Policy Logic/Theory of Change Theories of Change - A Policy Logic Model Scared Straight Programmes Programme Theory Programme Evidence

15 Problem 5 – Inaccessibility of Evidence For Policymakers Research Evidence Is Too: Long Verbose Detailed Dense Impenetrable Jargonesque Methodological Untimely Non-relevant/irrelevant

16 Some Solutions Integrate and plan research into policy strategically (CRAG) Establish incentives to use evidence (PSG initiative) Establish ownership of the evidence Clarify the policy/practice issues with users ex ante Establish users theory of change/logic model Establish answerable questions Establish the policy/practice timetable Knowledge translation (establish key messages clearly) Use appropriate formats for presentation (e.g. 1:3:25) Persistence and Opportunism (Matthew Taylor, 2005)

17 Contact Government Social Research Unit Cabinet Office Admiralty Arch The Mall London SW1A 2WH England Tel: +44 (0) Fax: +44 (0)


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