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Rational, not rationing – five lessons from NICE for social policy

Jonathan Breckon, Head of the Alliance for Useful Evidence and joint author of the new report 'The NICE Way: Lessons for social policy and practice from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence', sets out the 5 lessons he learnt while writing the report. Arguing that there's plenty for social policy to borrow from the NICE model.

Learning from the past: Slough, MinTech and experimental government

The little known 1960’s ‘Slough Experiment’ was an ambitious – but ultimately failed – attempt at experimental government writes Jon Agar, Professor of Science and Technology Studies at UCL. The plan was for a concentrated ‘industrial experiment’ in Slough. Civil servants and ministers had great hopes for ‘better business through computers, calculation and creative design’. Although it never took off, it teaches us some important lessons about contemporary attempts to test out policies. Warning us of the perils of trying to do too much a once, that politics disrupts, that governments can innovate and that we should learn from the past.

Data, data everywhere but which are most reliable? The role of the UK Data Service

A trusted repository of a wide range of data, the UK Data Service connects those conducting research in the public interest with data collected by range of organisations, including some of the UK’s most prominent data providers writes Professor Matthew Woollard. Read on to find out more about this free, online resource and its role in supporting empirical knowledge.

Calling time on ‘anecdotal’ evidence

A ceasefire may have been declared in the paradigm wars but ideas about what counts as real evidence runs deep argues Dr Cathy Sharp, Director of Research for Real. We lose too many chances to learn about what matters when stories of lived experience, that can cut to the heart of the issues, are discounted. Research and evaluation reports, Sharp argues, provide information and argument but stories provide insight and the empathy needed for action.

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