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The year ahead

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Our New Year’s resolution here at the What Works Centre is to continue to preach the gospel about evidence-based policy making. Our work over the past year-and-a-bit – particularly our evidence reviews on the impact of employment trainingbusiness adviceculture and sports projects and access to finance – have increased understanding of whether and how these policy interventions help improve the local economy. One of our central goals for this year is working on ways to communicate the findings from these reviews to better embed the available evidence in local decision making. But our reviews also uncovered a real deficit in the rigorous evaluation of economic development expenditure in the UK – something else we hope to improve on with our programme in the coming year. With local authorities operating on tighter budgets than ever, it’s vital that expenditure is having an impact.

We’ll be doing the following:

  • Running workshops with New Economy Manchester for local authorities, LEPs, government departments and their delivery partners on how to integrate evaluation into their programmes.
  • Launching a new website which will make the evidence about what does work easier to access, as well as drawing more attention to where the (big) gaps in evidence lie.
  • Developing a toolkit to help policymakers assess the relative cost-effectiveness of different approaches.
  • Supporting as many demonstration projects as we can, which will produce new evidence in the coming years about what works best.
  • Publishing reviews of the evidence relating to Estate Renewal, Broadband, and Transport Investment as well as other policy areas.

Please get in touch to be involved, or let us know how our work programme can be most useful for you.