Evidently better: Putting evidence and policymaking to work, side-by-side

What lessons can we draw from the pandemic in terms of policymaking and the use of evidence?

The author(s)
  • Ben Marshall Public Affairs
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  • What lessons can we draw from the pandemic in terms of policymaking and the use of evidence? 
  • What should come next?
  • How can this be achieved?

Ipsos Public Affairs’ new report - Evidently better - identifies several learnings from the pandemic, based on the experience of the Public Affairs team and conversations with clients involved in making policy and using evidence.

The pandemic had a huge impact on the way policies and decisions have been made by government and across public services and it has remodelled the way we gather and use evidence to improve policymaking.

However, looking through a longer lens, it has not been the only disruptive influence on policymaking and the use of evidence. These endeavours have been complicated by devolution and the pressing need to address intractable challenges which have made policymaking much messier. At the same time, technological transformation has spawned a proliferation of different data sources (and owners of these), creating new and exciting opportunities to generate insights. 

The learnings we have taken from the pandemic allied to the needs and requirements of our clients, highlight the need to work with the grain of complexity, and to take multiple factors into account when collecting and using evidence, and making policy, securing rigour and responsiveness, as well as building resilience. We also suggest ‘conscious coupling’ of policy and evidence - developing systems so that they move forwards in tandem from the outset and on an ongoing basis.

Evidently better presents a new framework containing 22 potential features of evidence-enabled policymaking. This has been designed to encourage critical thinking about what matters, what works, and how things can be improved. 

Lead author Ben Marshall said:

By calling our report Evidently better, we have given a name to an industry-wide aspiration as well as a practical approach to achieving improvement. We can only do this with further input from clients and the evidence community – please get in touch if you would like to be involved!

The author(s)
  • Ben Marshall Public Affairs

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