What Works: How do we get evidence informed policy?

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Presented at our fringe event at the Labour Party Conference 2013. Panel: Angela Eagle MP, Jill Rutter, Institute for Government, Hetan Shah, Executive Director, Royal Statistical Society, Bobby Duffy, Managing Director, Social Research Institute, Ipsos MORI, Dan Corry, Chief Executive of New Philanthropy Capital (Chair)

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  • Scientists above academics suggests less trust in academics in the humanities. When and how did economists cease to be typical social *scientists* and academics? Aren't there more business and public sector scandals involving accountants than statisticians? Exactly how do pollsters fail in comparison to even statisticians? Do people think that they tell their commissioners what they want to hear? Plenty of evidence here of perception overriding evidence
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  • Goodness me. Market research companies at the bottom, academic research at the top, and a ratio of 2.5 between them. I do not believe this data. Perhaps there is an element of self image boosting (snobbishness?), thinking that they read more academic research, and pay less attention to commercial research, than they do. Someone pays for it and many more are shown some of the results. Not every market research company is Ipsos Mori, but still...... Other organisations in their sector second. The converted taking evidence from the preachers? Not much lateral thinking, anyway
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  • Are managements in organisations really less driven by principles, fashions, etc. than politicians? This is not my experience. Were many survey respondents at a management level in their organisations? Are managers more persuasive in counteracting evidence than politicians?
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  • Civil servants often challenge the feasibility of what politicians plan and are overruled by them. We see politicians' performance in IT project failure, tax avoidance, etc. Perhaps that is why we have a growing greater trust in civil servants
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What Works: How do we get evidence informed policy?

  1. 1. Contacts: Bobby.Duffy@ipsos.com 020 7347 3000 What works: how do we get evidence informed policy? Bobby.Duffy@ipsos.com @BobbyIpsosMORI
  2. 2. Public opinion context and trust…
  3. 3. Version 1 | Public© Ipsos MORI ...would you tell me if you generally trust them to tell the truth, or not? Trust in clergy vs trust in scientists – a new age of reason...? Base: c.1,000-2,000 Source: Ipsos MORI most years face-to-face in-hom, *2012 ICM telephone ** 2013 IM telephone 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12* 13** Clergyman/Priests Scientists
  4. 4. Version 1 | Public© Ipsos MORI ...would you tell me if you generally trust them to tell the truth, or not? Trust in civil servants vs politicians – can’t explain this… Base: c.1,000-2,000 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Civil Servants Government Ministers Politicians Generally Source: Ipsos MORI most years face-to-face in-hom, *2012 ICM telephone ** 2013 IM telephone
  5. 5. But messier than that…
  6. 6. Version 1 | Public© Ipsos MORI Politicians will take decisions partly based on what they think is right, and partly on evidence of what works. Do you think they base their decisions more on what they think is right than on evidence, more on evidence than on what they think is right, or do you think they consider them both in equal measure? The public mostly believe politicians take a principle- based approach to policy making… Base: 1,034 British adults aged 16-75 Source: RSS/Ipsos MORI 2013 52 13 16 18 More on what they think is right than on evidence More on evidence than what they think is right On evidence and what they think is right about the same amount Don't know
  7. 7. Version 1 | Public© Ipsos MORI People have different attitudes towards statistics. Which of the following do you agree with most? ...but parallels in people’s own use of evidence Base: 1,034 British adults aged 16-75 Source: RSS/Ipsos MORI 2013 46 9 18 26 Statistics are more important than my own experiences or those of my family and friends in helping me keep track of how the government is doing My own experiences or those of my family and friends are more important than statistics in helping me keep track of how the government is doing Both equally Neither/Don’t know
  8. 8. Version 1 | Public© Ipsos MORI For each of the statements, please could you tell me the extent to which you agree or disagree? And we’re not particularly clear in thinking on relative balance between experts, public and politicians… Base: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+, 11 October-19 December 2010 17 11 46 34 21 25 9 20 1 5 4 4 % Strongly agree % Tend to agree % Neither / nor % Tend to disagree % Strongly disagree % Don't know Experts and not the public should advise the Government about the implications of scientific developments Politicians should put scientific evidence above public opinion when making decisions Only 35% would prefer experts to be in charge over politicians…
  9. 9. Version 1 | Public© Ipsos MORI Scepticism about data and evidence… Base: 1,015 British adults aged 16-75, *British Social Attitudes Source: RSS/Ipsos MORI 2013 ; *Detailed country of birth and nationality analysis from the 2011 Census of England and Wales, (May 2013) ONS. **Immigration Statistics, January to March 2013, (May 2013) Home Office. What percentage of the United Kingdom population do you think are immigrants to this country (i.e. not born in the UK)? 13 31 Actual Average estimate
  10. 10. Version 1 | Public© Ipsos MORI According to the last Census in 2011, the percentage of the UK population that was born in another country is actually 13%. Why do you think the percentage is much higher? Why do people believe it is higher? Base: 376 British adults aged 16-75 (all who thought the percentage of immigrants in the UK was 26% or higher) Source: RSS/Ipsos MORI 2013 56 46 36 34 23 19 16 10 1 1 3 People come into the country illegally so aren’t counted I still think the proportion is much higher than 13% What I see in my local area What I see when I visit other towns/cities I was just guessing Information seen on TV Information seen in newspapers The experiences of friends and family I misunderstood the question Other Don’t know
  11. 11. Practitioners have greater evidence focus…
  12. 12. Version 1 | Public© Ipsos MORI Overall, how important, if at all, is evidence for informing decision-making in your organisation? Wouldn’t expect anything else… Base: 200 interviews with public sector leaders from central and local government, NHS, and education, 7 Jan – 2 Feb 2013 Source: Ipsos MORI/Alliance for Useful Evidence 71% 25% 3% 1% Very important Fairly important Not very important Not at all important “Strategic” or “substantive” use? (David Whiteman)
  13. 13. Version 1 | Public© Ipsos MORI When your organisation is making decisions about policies and services, where do you look for evidence of what works? Range of sources used – see if What Works centres appear? Source: Ipsos MORI/Alliance for Useful Evidence 85 75 70 70 68 61 61 53 48 35 34 Academic research Other orgs in sector Central gov depts Private sector Local gov Think tanks Public services in other countries Charities NHS Other public services in the UK Market research companies Base: 200 interviews with public sector leaders from central and local government, NHS, and education, 7 Jan – 2 Feb 2013 Local gov less likely to use central gov, central gov less likely to use local gov….
  14. 14. Version 1 | Public© Ipsos MORI How much trust do you have in information provided by the following types of people? Take everything I’ve said with pinch of salt… Base: 1,034 British adults aged 16-75 Source: RSS/Ipsos MORI 2013 28 18 13 12 8 2 1 46 45 42 37 31 21 7 3 6 10 12 15 23 54 A great deal A fair amount None at all Scientists Academics Accountants Statisticians Economists Pollsters Politicians
  15. 15. Contacts: Bobby.Duffy@ipsos.com 020 7347 3000 Thank you

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