Tag Archive: evidence

Feb 20 2016

Economic Growth Advisor

The Economic Growth Advisor (EGA) programme was introduced by the Local Government Association in 2014 to promote, facilitate and enhance the role of local authorities in delivering economic growth. Derrick Johnstone was recruited to the panel of EGAs, whose role has been to offer bespoke advice and support to individual local authorities.trdc-logo

Derrick advised Three Rivers District Council in Hertfordshire (see LGA case study):

  • providing a fresh look at the local evidence base around economic growth, contributing to an updated Economic Profile
  • preparing a ‘critical friend’ report to the Management Board recommending steps to sharpen the Council’s approach to economic development
  • identifying good practice advice on introducing a Business Charter
  • advising on the content and structure of a revised Economic Development Strategy.

The ‘critical friend’ role was particularly valued, highlighting how, in low cost ways, the Council can add more value in pursuit of economic growth.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1286

Mar 20 2015

The work of the Communities & Local Government Committee

We submitted evidence, jointly with the Alliance for Useful Evidence, to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee on their 2014/15 inquiry into the work of the Committee since 2010CLG committee room. Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament

The Committee has a particular concern for strengthening the Committee’s use of evidence, and we were encouraged to submit evidence, given the experience of the Alliance in promoting higher standards and our research for the Alliance on local capacity and use of evidence (our report, Squaring the Circle).

In our submission, we highlighted capacity, skills and access to data at local level as significant areas of risk in dealing with notable challenges such as cutting the deficit, decentralising government, reducing pressures on health and social care and promoting local economic growth.

We argued that these issues should be considered in the course of future Committee inquiries, including looking at the difference that national initiatives such as the What Works Centres and the Public Service Transformation Network have been making. Particular attention should be given to issues surrounding the use evidence in central and local government negotiations, eg, on devolution deals.

There are opportunities for the Committee to strengthen its own use of evidence, in seeking out comprehensive research syntheses such as those provided by the What Works Centres. The Committee should consider the use of transparent and robust systems for weighing up evidence, drawing, eg, on HM Treasury’s Magenta Book on evaluation and standards of evidence used by bodies such as Project Oracle, Nesta and others.

The Committee has since published its report, acknowledging some of our suggestions not least on the need to draw on wider sources of evidence and apply standards such as those adopted by the international development body, Bond. (see our companion post here.)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1268

Sep 13 2014

Squaring the circle: useful local evidence


How are local authorities and their partners using data and evidence to square the circle of dramatic reductions in resources set against rising needs and expectations?

The Alliance for Useful Evidence (A4UE) commissioned Educe to report on how local authorities and their partners are seeking to make more of a difference through better use of ‘real world’ data and evidence. (Download available here, blog here and related Municipal Journal article here.)

This scene-setting report considers, amongst other things:

  • how evidence is shaping priorities and helping to make change more manageable
  • recent developments in methods to inform investment decision-making, eg, around preventative services
  • data and evidence for service improvement and transformation
  • raising demand for better evidence – analysis and presentation
  • making the most of analytical resources within and across organisations

It highlights practical steps and the scope for further action, for the Alliance, partners and supporters.

It was one of a series of Alliance outputs in 2013 which sought to stimulate the demand for and use of evidence through promotion of best practice and learning. We have since updated some of the content of ‘Squaring the Circle’ in preparing our joint submission with the Alliance for Useful Evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee for Communities and Local Government (January 2015).

The Alliance for Useful Evidence has now over 2,000 members. It was set up by Nesta, the Economic and Social Research Council and the Big Lottery Fund to “champion the use of and demand for evidence that is rigorous, accessible and appropriate”. The Alliance is working with SOLACE (the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives), and our paper was informed by participation in the 2012 SOLACE Summit.

Nesta are partners with the Cabinet Office and ESRC in setting up a network of What Works Centres, including one for Local Economic Growth, in an initiative launched in March 2013.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1094

Dec 25 2013

What Works Centres – Guardian Live

In March 2013 the Guardian’s Public Sector Network ran a live chat on plans for What Works Centres, which are being promoted by the government to improve evidence for decision-making in a number of policy fields, including Local Economic Growth. thumbnail_What_Works_publication Derrick Johnstone was one of the panel members, along with Sam Markey from the Cabinet Office, Ruth Puttick from Nesta (author of ‘A NICE for Social Policy’), Jonathan Eastwood from Big Lottery Fund (co-funders of the new centre on Ageing Well), Julie Temperley from the Innovation Unit, and Phil Sooben from the ESRC (co-funders with BIS and CLG of the Local Economic Growth centre).

You can find out more about the Centres here and follow the Guardian discussion here.  Some key points were pulled out by the Guardian in a round up.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1155

Oct 20 2011

A national information function for local government?

The Local Government Association (LGA) wished to establish what actions might be needed to ensure local government has access to good quality data and information to help improve services and outcomes for local people, whether it be for needs assessment, service planning, performance management, informing citizens about performance, or more generally, decision-making with partners.With Oxford Conusltants for Social Inclusion (OCSI), we undertook took a range of soundings and background research to explore:
  • the need for sector action to improve access to, the sharing and use of data, including possibly support in breaking down cultural and other barriers to better use of information
  • realistic options for a local government sector-owned function, that will collect, store and make accessible data and information – linking as appropriate to other national systems
A presentation on the project was made to the CLIP (Central Local Information Partnership) annual conference in October 2008.Our report was used by a working group set up the the LGA Improvement Board, whose work was covered by a Local Government Chronicle article on 21 May 2009. In essence, the report concluded that while there is a great deal of data available to councils and partnerships, they do not always have the ability or capacity to use it. There are also gaps in information or it is scattered across a range of sources making it time-consuming to collate. There are key areas where councils could potentially benefit from LGA Group support. These range from small, quick wins such as sharing knowledge on research/data suppliers and services to larger initiatives, eg, on  benchmarking.The research provided a foundation for the latest developments around performance data from the LGA, in the shape of LG Inform, which allows councils to access and compare data and present findings. This is part of the LGA’s Knowledge Hub intended to provide the “definitive online environment for local government to produce and capture its own knowledge” – all part of the local government sector taking full responsibility for its own data and improvement needs.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=231

Apr 04 2011

Customer Insight Skills Audit

Humber Innovation Partnership – formed by the four Humber councils and other public sector partners – commissioned a Customer Insight Skills Audit as part of their Customer Insight Programme. Its objectives were to:
  • take stock of the state of play in developing customer insight, including how customer insight is perceived and addressed
  • highlight good practice on which to build, and how to increase returns to insight activities
  • identify skills gaps and how best to meet these, notably through making the most of existing knowledge and expertise
The research was carried out primarily through an online survey aimed at strategic and service managers and analysts, and through face-to-face interviews.The report ( pdf 568KB) sets out the state of play on customer insight, factors driving and constraining its further development, skill requirements, gaps and expertise. There are recommendations for driving the agenda forward and for developing skills and capacity at LA level and across the Humber.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=270

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