Well, it’s really a set of messages, geared towards slightly different audiences, and summed up by this table:
- This academic journal article (in Evidence and Policy) highlights the dilemmas faced by policymakers when they have to make two choices at once, to decide: (1) what is the best evidence, and (2) how strongly they should insist that local policymakers use it. It uses the case study of the ‘Scottish Approach’ to show that it often seems to favour one approach (‘approach 3’) but actually maintains three approaches. What interests me is the extent to which each approach contradicts the other. We might then consider the cause: is it an explicit decision to ‘let a thousand flowers bloom’ or an unintended outcome of complex government?
- I explore some of the scientific issues in more depth in posts which explore: the political significance of the family nurse partnership (as a symbol of the value of randomised control trials in government), and the assumptions we make about levels of control in the use of RCTs in policy.
- For local governments, I outline three ways to gather and use evidence of best practice (for example, on interventions to support prevention policy).
- For students and fans of policy theory, I show the links between the use of evidence and policy transfer.
Further reading (links):