This paper outlines why the ‘What Works’ evidence centres are needed and the role they will play in policymaking.
Here are some of the anticipated key features of the ‘What Works’ network:
- The What Works centres will improve the supply and use of evidence across key policy areas including: active and independent ageing, early intervention, policing and crime, and local economic growth.
- The centres will assess relevant evidence, make recommendations, advise commissioners on new programmes, and present and share findings in an easy-to-understand form.
- The network will be independent from government, but close enough to have an impact.
- The work of the centres will complement the rapid progress being made in opening up public data, allowing for greater accountability and faster insights into how different areas of policy are working.
Over the past few years, there has been much discussion about how we can improve the use of evidence in decision making. This has led to new initiatives, such as the Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as calls for new institutions and ways of working.
These discussions have now led to action. In March 2013 the UK government, the ESRC and the Big lottery Fund, announced plans to create a new network of 'What Works' evidence centres.
This brief paper outlines why these centres are needed, the role they will play, and how they will build upon the work already underway and complement existing institutions.
Geoff Mulgan and Ruth Puttick