The Alliance for Useful Evidence was a network, hosted by Nesta, that championed the smarter use of evidence in social policy and practice.
The idea that social policy and practice should be underpinned by rigorous evidence is internationally accepted, yet billions of pounds are spent each year on programmes with little rigorous evidence on the impacts of these initiatives. And despite decades of producing excellent research, we still encounter problems of getting this integrated into decision-making.
The Alliance for Useful Evidence championed and supported the smarter use of evidence in social policy and practice through three core activities:
We produced research, discussion papers, guides, and case studies, and monitored evidence-use by government and politicians. We convened small groups on specialist topics in roundtables, as well as large conferences and summits, to encourage debate, discussion, collaboration and innovation, and to share insights on what works (and what doesn’t). For example, our Evidence vs Democracy report set out the case for how mini-publics can help democracy connect with evidence.
We delivered a range of training courses and workshops, from our flagship Evidence Masterclass, to more bespoke strategic support such as our theory of change workshops. We also offered free downloadable resources, including the heavily downloaded Using Research Evidence practice guide.
We always worked with others – with champions, partners and allies. We collaborated to campaign for the better use of research, evidence, evaluation and data to inform social policies and programmes – for example, on Manifesto Checks for political parties, Evidence Transparency in Government, and a Best Use of Evidence Prize for Politicians – and we advised organisations on how to use evidence effectively.