About Us

The Big Lottery Fund, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Nesta have come together in partnership to create The Alliance for Useful Evidence.

By championing the need for useful evidence, the Alliance provides a focal point for improving and extending the use of social research and evidence in the UK. In doing so, we work with other organisations in this field to encourage debate, discussion, collaboration and innovation. Our aim is to become the hub for evidence initiatives in the UK, providing a forum for members to share good practice and avoid the duplication of work.

The Alliance is an open access network of individuals from across government, universities, charities, business and local authorities in the UK and internationally.  If you are interested in promoting useful evidence in decision making across social policy, whilst gaining access to publications and events, and networking with other members join us at The Alliance for Useful Evidence.

In 2014, the Alliance began a project, Evidence Exchange, which aims to increase the use of and demand for evidence between the four UK jurisdictions. This is in response to research which found that despite a desire to learn from each other there is limited evidence sharing between the UK nations (Evidence Exchange; Learning from Social Policy across the UK, 2013, Carnegie UK Trust). In 2015, this project held a series of events and dialogues to share evidence around wellbeing and reducing harm caused by alcohol misuse. These involved policy makers and practitioners from across the UK.  Now that this piece of work has come to an end our team members based in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will continue to lead the Alliance’s activities in their respective nations.

Membership of the Alliance is free, and open to everyone, from interested individuals in charities, academics, local authorities, practitioners, think tanks, government and commercial businesses. To sign up click here. 

Our Year One and Year Two overviews, detailing the Alliance’s achievements from out inception to the end of April 2014, and a progress report for 2014-2016, are available on our publications page.  If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you – please email us on [email protected].

The Alliance team

We are a small team based in London, Cardiff, Dunfermline and Belfast; Jonathan Breckon (Head of the Alliance), Helen Mthiyane (Coordinator), Pippa Coutts (Manager, Scotland), Peter O’Neill (Manager, Northern Ireland) and Helen Cunningham (Manager, Wales). If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, then we’d love to hear from you; please email us on [email protected].

web photo Jonathan Breckon                     Helen

Jonathan Breckon              Helen Mthiyane


Pippa_2014 resized                  Pete resized          Helen Cunningham

Pippa Coutts                         Peter O’Neill             Helen Cunningham


Asking About Evidence

We’ve been asking friends of the Alliance from across the Public and Charity sectors about evidence – why it’s important. who’s using it and who needs it.

Here’s what they said.


Jan Tallis, Chief Executive, School-Home Support


Roger Blackman, Chief Executive, The Reasons Why Foundation


Richard Muncaster, Director of Development, Living Streets


Hannah Mitchell, Head of Knowledge and Innovation, vInspired


Jane Steele, Director of Evaluation & Impact, Paul Hamlyn Foundation


Chris Whitwell, Director, Friends, Families and Travellers



Simon Fulford, Chief Executive, Khulisa


Dr Tony Munton, Director, The RTK


Aileen McKenchie, Director of Advanced Learning and Science, Scottish Government

Gareth Wall, Public Health Manager, London Borough of Hackney.

Ambreen Shah, Deputy Director, Big Lottery Fund.

Ruth Marriot, Realising Ambition Programme Manager, Catch 22

Abdool Kara, Chief Executive, Swale Borough Council, & Policy Spokesperson on Evidence Based Policy, Solace


“Evidence is important because otherwise you’re just winging it… without gathering that evidence you’re simply just flying blind” 

Jonathan Breckon, Head of the Alliance for Useful Evidence



Our Funders

Big Lottery Fund
Every year BIG gives out millions of pounds from the National Lottery to good causes. This money goes to community groups and to projects that improve health, education and the environment and the lives of those who are most in need.

Nesta is an independent charity with a mission to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. They do this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills.

The ESRC is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. They support independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation
JRF works for social change in the UK by researching the root causes of social problems and developing solutions. Together with the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, they use their evidence and practical experience of developing housing and care services to influence policy, practice and public debate.

JRF provided funding towards the Alliance’s Evidence Exchange project.

Carnegie UK Trust

The Carnegie UK Trust works to improve the lives of people throughout the UK and Ireland, by changing minds through influencing policy, and by changing lives through innovative practice and partnership work.

Carnegie UK Trust provided funding towards the Alliance’s Evidence Exchange project.