Policy briefs

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3ie Grantees Communication
for Policy Influence Clinic
Negombo 16th – 18th July 2012
How to
communicate
impact evaluations…
A short clip to watch
How science can not only predict but also mitigate the effects of
natural disasters
http://blip.tv/ictkm-program/how-science-can-not-only-predict-but-alsomitigate-the-effects-of-natural-disasters-4114862
ILRI Peter Ballantyne
ILRI Peter Ballantyne 2011
Communication
channels
Publications
Media
Events
Digital
Brainstorm: Communications
channels
• Make a list of different formats and outputs you could
use for communication of research within your
assigned channel (publications, media, events, online)
• For each format or output, try to identify:
– Which audience it best serves?
– When it may be best to use it within a research
process?
– Any costs or resourcing?
10 mins in your groups
Policy briefs:
A research
communication tool
Evaluating
policy briefs
Exercise 1
Evaluating policy briefs
• Each group has a Policy Brief. DON’T LOOK YET!
• When we say ‘GO’, you will have THREE MINUTES to
read through the policy brief (you may want to take
notes)
• And then hide the Policy Brief again…
10
It’s like being a policy-maker…
• In your groups, note down the answers to the
following questions - you have 5 minutes and no
peeping at the briefs!:
1. What issue is the policy brief aiming to change,
validate or inform?
2. Who do you think is the audience for this brief?
3. What recommendations are made?
4. Is there any specific piece of evidence that sticks
out in your mind?
• Each group will have two minutes to present your
answers
11
What does a good policy brief look
like?
Clear headline (IDS)
Good summary of the context (IDS)
Key points (CDKN)
Good use of simple graphics (CGD) – but be
careful…
• Too much space? (CDKN)
• The methodology is not that important (CERGE)
• It’s got to have a point! (AAAS)
•
•
•
•
Experience
sharing
So what is a
policy brief?
What is a policy brief?
A concise, standalone document that focuses
on a particular issue requiring policy
attention:
• Explains and conveys the urgency of an issue
• Presents policy recommendations or implications
• Gives evidence to support these
recommendations
• Points the reader to additional resources
15
What is a policy brief?
• Policy Briefs are the most popular form of publication
in think tanks. Why? Because they can help bring
together the research and policy communities
Source: CIPPEC and
GDN’s Comparative
study of policy
research institutes in
developing countries
16
Different types of policy brief
– Policy Briefs as a memo
– Policy Briefs as a publication – print and/or online
– Policy Briefs as a marketing tool / hand out
– Policy Briefs as a targeted research summary
– Policy brief as part of a presentation
17
Types of policy briefs
The PB as memo
The PB as publication
• Often internally focused
• Externally focused
• Demand-driven
• Supply-driven
• Narrow audience
• Often broad audience
• A general overview of the
subject showing multiple
opinions or view points
• Targeted research summary that
supports a main argument
• Might give multiple, and even
competing, solutions
• Gives strong, clear and
coordinated policy
recommendations or implications
• Often used as a marketing tool
18
Types of policy briefs
The type of policy brief depends on:
• the objectives and messages of the research
• the specific context within which your research takes
place
• the audience identified
• the author(s)
•other communications activities that are being
planned alongside your policy brief
19
Planning
your policy brief
20
Considering the objective(s)
Analyse an issue / put an
issue on the public agenda
Make recommendations on an
issue / advocacy
Describes a problem or situation,
analyses causes and points out
options to improve the situation.
Gives a clear opinion on a specific
relevant topic in a particular moment
and proposes a certain action
Presents alternatives to solution
without suggesting the best one;
offering costs and benefits from each
alternative.
Offers a range of options and then
proposes a specific solution using an
evidence-based argument
Is oriented to a general audience
(technical concepts explained)
Is oriented to an expert audience
21
Context-driven
Cabinet
Donors
Policy Formulation
Agenda
Setting
Civil Society
Private
Sector
22
Monitoring and
Evaluation
Parliament
Decision
Making
Ministries
Policy Implementation
The shoes of your audience
Audience-driven
• Who is your brief aimed at?
• Does the audience know you?
• How much does your target
audience know about the issue?
• How do they perceive the issue?
• What questions do they need answers
to?
• How open are they to your
message(s)?
Common
audiences
Non-academic /
non-specialist
Decision-makers
who may have
varying degrees of
expertise on a
given issue
In certain cases
may target
practitioners
Not usually general
public
24
Audience-driven
Policy-makers views:
• Do present evidenceinformed opinions
• Don’t shy away from
opinion and value
judgements
• But signpost which
content is subjective
and which is objective
25
Considering the authors
• Contextualise your evidence
within existing research
• Consider institutional factors
• What are our areas of
credibility?
– The writers
– The organisation
Types of author(s)
Researchers
Policy-oriented research
institutes
Think tanks
Civil society organisations
Advocacy organisations
International NGOs
Multilateral organisations
Government bodies
Networks/ coalitions of any of
the above
26
Policy briefs as one part of your
communications strategy
• Timing is
important
• Where does
your policy
brief sit
alongside
other activities
in your
strategy?
Source: Jones and Walsh (2008), Policy briefs as a
communication tool for development research.
27
What does an effective
policy brief look like?
Structure and content
• Potential sections of a policy brief:
– Title
– Executive Summary
– Introduction (10-15%)
– Background and methodology (10-15%)
– Results or policy options (30%)
– Implications or recommendations (30%)
– References and useful resources (10%)
REMEMBER: Policy briefs are two, four or a maximum of
eight pages in length (approx. 1,200, 2,500 or 4,000
words)
29
Structure and the role of design
• Format & design can:
– Engage people
– Highlight crucial information
– Separate content and signpost
your narrative
– Convey authority
– Show information in different
ways
40
Some design ideas…
• Photographs
• Graphs and
charts
• Text boxes
• Pull quotes
• Side bars
41
Outlining policy
briefs:
where to start
42
Brainstorming for policy briefs
1
• Identify the purpose and overarching message of the
policy brief
2
• Determine three key policy recommendations/
implications
3
• Construct a logical line of argument for making these
recommendations
4
• Based on an understanding of the context around the
issue, identify one or two entry points for the message
An example to use
in the online
toolkit…
44
Example: objective
The objective for this policy brief is to encourage
national governments around the world to embed
impact evaluations in government decision-making
processes by setting up independent evaluation
departments.
Example: Recommendations
• All government programmes should be evaluated
using rigorous impact evaluations.
• Governments should institute capacity
development programmes for bureaucrats to help
them design evaluable programmes.
• These processes could be supported through the
establishment of an independent evaluation
department in each country.
Example: Line of argument
Governments should
institute capacity
development
programmes for
bureaucrats to help
them design
evaluable
programmes.
-Many policy makers do not
understand what an impact
evaluation actually is
-This means they have limited
understanding of the benefits
and constraints of IEs
-Many programmes and policies
are currently not evaluable
In South Africa, the gov’t announced a
policy on subsidies for companies who
employ young workers, but they don’t
know if this is an effective way to
reduce youth unemployment.
With the global financial crisis,
many gov’t budgets have been
cut and many programmes are
losing funding. It is therefore
important to make sure
funding for programmes that
work is not cut.
In the UK, there were budget cuts
amounting to x% of the annual
budget.
Example: Hooks (entry points)
• An ‘age of austerity’ is sweeping through governments
as the medium term impacts of the global financial
crisis start to be felt.
• Budgets are being cut, but usually on an ideological
basis rather than because a programme is ineffective.
The views presented here are those of the speakers,
and do not necessarily represent the views of ODI,
or our partners.
www.odi.org.uk
[email protected]
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