Researchers working with policymakers colloquium


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A presentation at an invited colloquium on getting local policymakers and commissioners to work with academics in social science and public health. Covered issues in working together

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Researchers working with policymakers colloquium

  1. 1. www.hertsdirect.orgAcademics, Commissioners and localCouncillorsWorking together for better policyJim McManusDirector of Public Health
  2. 2. www.hertsdirect.orgMajor issues for academic work to be adopted• What approaches enable politicians to becomfortable publicly and privately withscientifically led interventions andprogrammes in public services for highlyvulnerable populations?• How do we get political buy-in to spend andinvestment against a background of 25%reduction in spend?
  3. 3. www.hertsdirect.orgStarting Points• Commissioners and local politicians essentially make policy atlocal level.• They are – or ought to be – big customers of evidence fromacademic research• Some issues in concerns of both academics and commissionerswhich, whilst legitimate, can act as barriers to others– Academia seen as status conscious, research takes years– Commissioners find implementation sometimes difficult– Academics find commissioners unresponsive or want thingstoo quickly• The research process and policy process are usually not wellarticulated to each other
  4. 4. www.hertsdirect.orgBoth academics and policymakers seem to want• Greater use of evidence in priority setting andprogramme work• Re-assuring political sensitivities– Prevention and Prioritisation can deliver• “Evidence in the real world”– Clear roadmap for combining evidencewith political aspirations of electedpoliticians• Did it work?
  5. 5. www.hertsdirect.orgMethods – Policy Case Study• Identification of candidate projects to demonstratebenefits of increasing use of scientific/public healthapproaches• Trialling different ways of enabling politicians to• Parallel semi-structured assessments of officersand politicians in acceptability and utility• Financial assessment of benefits to organisationled by Finance
  6. 6. www.hertsdirect.orgQuestions from Councillors andCommissioners• Assurance – how do we know your idea is anybetter?• Scientific evidence alone rarely satisfiespoliticians when there is large financial risk• Deficit models – scientists assume we do notunderstand science• Early success and political cycle• Accountabilty – “we may well understand you,we just have other priorities”
  7. 7. www.hertsdirect.orgWhat Politicians/Commissioners really wantfrom academic research• Implementability• Assurance of quality of work and evidence• Assurance of financial risk• Scientific evidence alone rarely satisfiespoliticians when there is large financial risk• Deficit models – academic should not assumecommissioners do not understand science,commissioners should not assume academicsdo not understand implementation
  8. 8. www.hertsdirect.orgSuggested Approaches• Getting to know each other and buildrelationships• “Think and do” tanks combining academicsand policymakers on research priorities• Summary business cases addressingevidential and assurance issues• “So what” briefs about your research writtenby politicians for other politicians• User and citizen co-production of proposals• Independent statement or scrutiny• Early warning and debate before going intopublic domain for decision
  9. 9. www.hertsdirect.orgThe Big Question...• How do academics get buy in for longer termsolutions when there is a need for short termdeliveryTentative Hypothesis...• The assurance that comes from quickwins and early signs an approach worksbuilds political confidence in longer-termapproaches