Evidence-informed Policy and Practice

Understanding and using evidence effectively to make better policy and practice decisions.


The political discourse which has emerged from the US elections and elsewhere has led many commentators to speculate that we are heading towards “an age of post-truth politics”. 

What can policy-makers do to pick apart the overwhelming supply of facts and make policy decisions based on sound evidence? How can we restore trust in the use of evidence, and ensure policy-makers and practitioners have the confidence to make decisions based on the most reliable evidence?

Join this Holyrood seminar to learn tips and tools to better understand what different types of evidence can and cannot do, and how to use and have confidence in evidence in the decision making process. Learn how to ask the right questions when presented with evidence, how to set the scope of new research to meet your aims, and how to communicate evidence effectively to different stakeholders. 

This Holyrood seminar is aimed for both professionals in policy-influencing roles, and practitioners who would like to learn more about how to make the most of evidence whilst implementing policy.

Key learning objectives

  • Building trust and confidence in using evidence in policy-making
  • Tips for how to read, understand and communicate different types of evidence
  • How evidence can inform the policy decision-making process
  • The limitations of evidence and challenging false assumptions
  • How to set the scope of new research to meet your aims


09:30     Registration and refreshments

10:00     Introduction from the Chair

Paul Bradshaw, Head of ScotCen Social Research​

Session 1: Making the case for evidence-informed policy-making

10:05 Evidence and policy in the Scottish Government

Dr Audrey MacDougall, Chief Social Researcher, Scottish Government

10:25 The Importance of Evidence 

  • Why evidence matters
  • Different types of evidence
  • The Scottish approach to evidence

Pippa Coutts, Project Manager, Alliance for Useful Evidence​

10:45 InterAction: the benefits of academics and the third sector working together to influence policy and practice

  • Explore the different approaches of both sectors to knowledge and evidence and make the case for collaboration
  • Review some of the opportunities and challenges to collaboration
  • A series of recommendations as to how those in the third sector, academia and the research funding councils can support and encourage more positive collaboration

Jenny Brotchie, Policy Officer, Carnegie UK Trust

11:05 Questions and discussion

11:30 Refreshments and networking


Session 2: Evidence in practice

11:50 What works and how? Using evidence to help address wicked problems in public service transformation

This session will:

  • Highlight the benefits and challenges of using research and other types of evidence in implementing service improvement and transformation
  • Help participants to gain insight and confidence in how to use conflicting and incomplete evidence in decision-making, bringing to bear practice knowledge, experience, professional values and judgement 
  • Introduce participants to a range of knowledge support services available to help them find and apply evidence in practice

Dr Ann Wales, Programme Director for Knowledge Management, NHS Education for Scotland

13:05 Lunch and networking


Session 3: Afternoon workshop

13:55 ​Personal outcomes – what do we do with the evidence?

  • Intro to Iriss
  • Our approach to evidence-informed practice
  • Some examples
  • Personal outcomes evidence 
  • Dialogue 

Ellen Daly, Project Manager, Evidence-informed practice, Iriss

14:55 Summary and conclusions from the Chair

15:00 Close of event

*Agenda and speakers subject to change

Venue and costs

Scottish Arbitration Centre, 125 Princes Street, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

  • Discounted rate: £149 + VAT (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: £199 + VAT (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: £299 + VAT (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please contact Craig Flannigan by email: Craig@holyrood.com or by phone: 0131 285 1691

31 January 2017
United Kingdom



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