LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND THE
RESEARCH COMMUNITY
Jonathan Breckon, Head of Alliance
for Useful Evidence
Monday 23 June 2014
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Overview
1. What’s going on in the UK?
2. What evidence institutions work?
3. What is good evidence?
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What’s going on in UK?
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What’s best approach?
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Protect independence
Leadership key
Diversify funding
Budget size not crucial
Effective comms
Transparency
Open to methods mix
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What is good (enough) evidence?
One insiders view of a hierarchy
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Expert evidence (e.g. consultants)
Opinion-based evidence (e.g. pressure groups)
Ideological evidence (e.g. manifestos)
Media evidence
Internet evidence
Lay evidence (e.g. constituents)
Street evidence (e.g. urban myths)
Cabbies’ evidence
Research evidence
Source: Phil Davies, former Deputy Chief Social Research, 2007 in
What Counts as Good Evidence, Alliance for Useful Evidence 2013
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What is good (enough) evidence?
The NICE evidence hierarchy
• Systematic reviews
• RCTs
• Cohort studies
• Case control studies
• Case series
• Expert opinion
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), long
regarded at the 'gold standard' of evidence,
have been put on an undeserved pedestal.
Their appearance at the top of
"hierarchies" of evidence is
inappropriate; and hierarchies,
themselves, are illusory tools for
assessing evidence. They should be
replaced by a diversity of approaches that
involve analysing the totality of the
evidence-base.
Sir Michael Rawlins, Harveian Oration 2008,
former Chair of NICE
Standards of evidence
Finally… politics
“There is nothing a politician likes
so little as to be well-informed. It
makes decision making so complex
and difficult.”
(John Maynard Keynes)
“For me, politics shouldn’t be some
mind-bending exercise. It’s about
what you feel in your gut”
(David Cameron, April 2011)
Absorptive capacity of your audience
– policymakers skills
Successful
policy
Evidence
Politics
Delivery
Reference: Policy Profession Skills Framework, UK Civil Service 2013
http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/networks/policy-profession/skills-framework
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Join us!
Web: www.alliance4usefulevidence.org/
Twitter: @A4UEvidence
Email: http://www.alliance4usefulevidence.org/
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Local Government and the Research Community