Evidence for change

Local government needs radical change. As we move from providing services to convening services, from meeting demand to managing demand, we need policies that can support this shift.

This is risky business, but too often innovation stalls at the demand for evidence. Or even where new interventions are developed, we don’t always have good enough evidence to show that it’s worked the way we’ve intended – or well enough to replace existing means of service delivery.

We recently hosted a roundtable to look at what kind and how much evidence is needed to help government move from delivery to developing communities able and willing to do things for themselves. We brought together policy makers and researchers to tease out some of the thorny issues of evidenced based policy making in a world of tight resources and shifting priorities.

We currently have a survey out for:

We’ll be looking at some of these issues:

  • Is the bar for evidence too high? Is the call for more evidence a barrier to innovation?
  •  Do we use the right tools to predict effect and measure impact of policies aimed at building social and community capital?
  • Do we use enough evidence in formulating and evaluating policy?
  • Do demands for evidence favour the status quo?
  • How can we better build evidence into the innovation cycle?
  • When can we rely on gut, political instinct and leadership and when do we really need evidence for change?

In March, we’ll publish these results in an occasional paper to stimulate further debate. In the meantime, please contact me if you have any examples of where using evidence well has supported service transformation or improvement or converse examples.

Photo Credit: O.S. Fisher via Compfight cc