The last decade has seen a growing focus on producing evidence-based policy and practice in governments around the world – with a specific focus on causal evidence of the impacts of a particular policy on outcomes for citizens. The UK is a key example of this, with the establishment of 14 What Works Centres which collate, create and translate evidence in different policy and practice domains.
In this book, leaders, researchers and practitioners from these institutions share insights to help understand what has worked so far in the Centres, and what could be done better in future. It offers guidance to policy makers and funders looking to establish new centres, and for academics looking to create similar institutions that can have a practical impact on the improvement of the world around us.
“Provides a front seat view into the institutions and people who are quietly revolutionising our health, education and criminal justice systems. Answering the difficult but devastatingly powerful question 'What Works?' is an antidote to our polarised politics, and can literally change our world.” David Halpern, author and former UK What Works national adviser.
Michael Sanders is Professor of Public Policy and has worked for and with the majority of the UK's What Works Centres.
Jonathan Breckon is visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London and has worked with or for the majority of the UK’s What Works Centres.
Foreword – David Halpern
1. The Scene Is Set – Michael Sanders and Jonathan Breckon
2. How Did We Get Here? What Works in the UK? A Personal Journey – Jonathan Breckon and Annette Boaz
3. The role of NICE in the evidence-based health system – Nick Timmins
4. What Works in Crime and Policing: Getting Closer to the Frontline – Rachel Tuffin
5. The Education Endowment Foundation: Building the Role of Evidence in the Education System – Harry Madgwick, Becky Francis and Jonathan Kay
6. Audiences First, Evidence Second – Lessons From the Early Intervention Foundation – Jo Casebourne
7. Overcoming the Youth Employment Evidence Challenge – Jane Colechin, Catherine Fitzgerald, Chris Goulden, Ryan Howsham and Anna Round
8. ‘Pulling Rather Than Pushing’: a Demand-Led Approach to Evidence Mobilisation – Steve Martin
9. The What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth: Some Lessons From the First Ten Years – Danielle Mason, Max Nathan and Henry G. Overman
10. Criticisms and Challenges of the What Works Centres – Michael Sanders and Jonathan Breckon
11. Higher Aspirations: Growing From a University Home to an Independent Body – Eliza Kozman and Omar Khan
12. Using Evidence To End Homelessness – Ligia Teixeira
13. Scaling Up: Taking ‘What Works’ to the Next Level – Jane Lewis, Eleanor Ott and Robyn Mildon
14. Measuring What Matters – Nancy Hey
15. Bringing It All Together: The Future of Evidence Synthesis – David Gough and Sandy Oliver
16. Frontiers in Equality – Ella Whelan and Michael Sanders
17. Evidence at the Grassroots – Ben Linton
18. Conclusion – Jonathan Breckon and Michael Sanders