Chief Secretary Danny Alexander and Policy Minister Oliver Letwin today claimed a world first with plans to establish a network of independent centres aimed at collating evidence and advising Government on which policies will work best.
The What Works centres will follow the model of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which provides evidence-based guidelines to the NHS on diagnosing and treating illness.
Centres dedicated to local economic growth, ageing better, crime reduction and early intervention will be created and linked up into a What Works network. NICE and the existing Educational Endowment Foundation will be tied into the same network.
If successful, further centres looking at other areas of Government spending, including welfare, could be created.
Mr Alexander said: “It is vital that we continue using evidence-based policy making to shape decisions on public spending, particularly in this financial climate.
“The What Works Network will bring a real step-change to our evidence generating capabilities, and will further ensure Government takes decisions at the Spending Round and future events on the basis of high quality research aimed at delivering the best possible outcomes for the public.”
Mr Letwin added: “The What Works Network will support commissioners and decision-makers at every level of Government – from head teachers and local police chiefs, to ministers and civil servants.
“A decade from now, we will wonder how we ever did without it.”
The Ministers said the network would build on existing evidence-based policy making and would contribute to decisions made in relation to spending £200bn.
The move is a component of the Civil Service Reform plan unveiled by the coalition last June and the Open Public Services White Paper of July 2011.