The What Works Centres

Lessons and Insights from an Evidence Movement

Edited by Michael Sanders and Jonathan Breckon

Published

Feb 1, 2023

Page count

208 pages

ISBN

978-1447365099

Dimensions

216 x 240 mm

Imprint

Policy Press

Published

Feb 1, 2023

Page count

208 pages

ISBN

978-1447365105

Dimensions

216 x 138 mm

Imprint

Policy Press
The What Works Centres

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.

Michael Sanders is a Professor of Public Policy and Jonathan Breckon is a visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London, both have worked with or for the majority of the UK’s What Works Centres.

Foreword – Dr David Halpern

1. Introduction: Setting the Scene – Michael Sanders and Jonathan Breckon

Part 1: Where are we?

2. How did we get here? - Jonathan Breckon and Annette Boaz

3. The National Institute for Health and Social Care: the role of NICE in the evidence-based health system – Sir Michael Rawlins and Nicholas Timmins

4. What Works for Crime Reduction; how evidence-based medicine was adopted and adapted by policing – Rachel Tuffin and Jenny Fleming

5. Education, Education, Education - the EEF’s first 200 trials – Sir Kevan Collins, Becky Francis and Eleanor Stringer

6. Evidence Early, Evidence Often: the challenge and future of dealing with cross-cutting policy issues – Jo Casebourne and Carey Oppenheim

7. Small is Beautiful: the benefits and challenges of working with small charities to produce evidence – Jon Yates and Anna Smee

8. Pulling vs pushing evidence: the Wales Centre for Public Policy and a demand-led model – Professor Steve Martin, Director, Wales Centre for Public Policy

9. What to do when we don’t know what works? The experience of the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth – Professor Henry Overman

Part 2: What’s Next? Meeting current challenges and future directions for the UK What Works Centres

10. Summary of current state of play, 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 – Dr Omar Khan and Eliza Kozman

12. Using evidence to end homelessness: an entrepreneurial approach – Dr Ligia Teixeira

13. Getting it right, time after time: implementing evidence – Dr Robyn Mildon and Jane Lewis

14. Measuring what matters – Nancy Hey and Michael Sanders

15. Bringing it all together: The future of evidence synthesis – Professor David Gough and Professor Sandy Oliver

16. Frontiers in Equality – Louise Jones

17. Building from the ground up: the role of professions in using and growing evidence of ‘what works’ – Alex Murray and Harry-Fletcher Wood

18. Conclusion – Michael Sanders and Jonathan Breckon