Skip to content

Making Evidence Useful: The case for new institutions

This paper outlines why the ‘What Works’ evidence centres are needed and the role they will play in policymaking.

This paper outlines why the ‘What Works’ evidence centres are needed and the role they will play in policymaking.

Key findings

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.

Authors

Geoff Mulgan and Ruth Puttick

Authors

Ruth Puttick

Ruth Puttick

Ruth Puttick

Principal Researcher - Public and Social Innovation

Ruth was Principal Researcher for public and social innovation. Ruth joined the Nesta policy and research team in 2009, working on a range of projects across innovation, investment a...

View profile
Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan

Chief Executive Officer

Geoff Mulgan has been Chief Executive of Nesta since 2011. Nesta is the UK's innovation foundation and runs a wide range of activities in investment, practical innovation and research.

View profile