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Evidence-based Policy-making and Implementation

There is increasing pressure on policy makers to develop more effective policies and to direct and manage resources in more focused and efficient ways that result in improved implementation and outcomes. Evidence-based policy-making is an approach that has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. It is based on the premise that better policies and better decision-making result when these are based on sound empirical evidence and solid rational analysis. It is also critical to use evidence to improve implementation. Evidence-Based Policy-Making and Implementation (EBPM&I) therefore focuses on establishing rigorously objective evidence as a key informant of policy, but also for improving implementation of public services.

However, there are many areas of government which are not well served by quantitative research, leading to debate about the methods and instruments that are considered critical for the collection of relevant evidence. In addition to data, understanding institutional policy- and decision-making processes, analytical skills and political support are seen as important elements. This course aims to engage with this debate and help leaders understand how evidence can help them to make the best decisions about policies, programmes, services and budgets.

 

The programme

The course in presented in collaboration with the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development (PSPPD).

Six successful iterations of this course have been delivered – in 2013, 2014, May 2015, October 2015, May 2016 and October 2016. The course has catalysed various actions to embed the use of evidence in policy processes, spurred evaluation processes and generated a greater awareness of and enthusiasm for the use of evidence in a number of departments.

The course unpacks the different influences on policy-making and implementation processes (facts, experiences, expertise, judgement, politics and institutional capacity) and the ways in which evidence can be incorporated into the management process. It analyses the different types of evidence and their usefulness in different arenas. The course is very practical, using case studies and drawing on participants’ experiences, as well as global thinking and best practice.

The three day programme covers:

1.  The uses of evidence in public policy and decision-making processes

2.  Examples of EBPM&I tools and the institutional culture and structures required to support more effective use of evidence in the policy process, programmes, project and service management for strategic decision-making and implementation

3.  Practical application of the lessons learnt to strengthen current policy and implementation processes.

What do participants gain from attending the course?

1.  An understanding of the factors that influence policy and implementation processes and the difference between evidence and opinion

2.  An understanding of the reason for, and the method of constructing, a theory of change

3.  An understanding of how the use of evidence can improve the performance of leaders and departments as well as the implementation and impact of policies

4.  An opportunity to reflect on existing policy-making and management processes, their strengths and limitations

5.  An understanding of tools for evidence-based policy-making and implementation

6.  An understanding of the role of evidence in managing political and other influences on the policy and implementation process.

 

Who should attend the course?

This executive course targets strategic leaders and top managers in the public service. It is designed to assist participants to use evidence to make well informed decisions about policies, programmes, projects and services and to improve government’s impact on society

 

Upcoming courses

The course typically runs twice annually. The next course is scheduled to run in May 2017, however the dates have not been finalised yet.

 

What previous participants liked about the course

“It is important that work is informed by evidence. If you don’t use evidence effectively you could be prescribing inappropriate medication.”

“It is good to see that there are different sources of evidence available and one does not need to recreate as there is a whole body of knowledge out there that we need to tap into doing our every day work.”

“The course enabled me to see the gaps in the work that I am currently doing and going back home I will be able to plug the gaps and even to strengthen the areas that are working every well.”

“Being able to take time out and just learn.”