Carnegie Trust hails unique ‘Scottish approach’ to policy

Written by Tom Freeman on 25 January 2017 in News

Use of evidence and collaboration in Scottish policy-making applauded in discussion paper, but more system-wide evidence needed

Scotland can build on a unique, joined-up approach to policy making, according to a new paper by the Carnegie UK Trust.

The Dunfermline charity, set up by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to promote policy to benefit “the wellbeing of the masses”, has joined with campaign group the Alliance for Useful Evidence to call for other countries to learn from Scotland as a “global expert” in public service delivery.

Scotland’s public and third sectors have embraced an approach which focuses on outcomes and involves people more readily than elsewhere, the discussion paper argues.


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However, it warns the approach still requires better gathering and use of evidence.

It says: “The Scottish approach means more collaboration and increasing use of co-production, e.g. between service users and providers, or between researchers, communities, service users and commissioners. However, the evidence base for these approaches needs to be strengthened and we need to develop clearer approaches to involving citizens in evidence production and use.”

Report co-author Jenny Brotchie said Scotland is in a “good position to play a leading role” in tackling challenges faced by many countries by developing new tools and methodologies.

“Governments across the world are acutely aware that we need to find new ways of tackling complex social problems,” she said.

“Many have expressed a clear ambition to redesign their public services to engage more openly and directly with people and communities. As is usually the case when new approaches are being trialled the evidence base lags a little behind the policy.”

Jonathan Breckon, Director, Alliance for Useful Evidence said: “The big social challenges that we face are the same whether we are located in Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland. While this paper focuses specifically on Scotland, policymakers and practitioners across the UK and beyond are facing the same challenges and have much to share with and learn from Scotland.”

The 2011 Christie Commission report laid the groundwork for Scotland’s National Performance Framework, which has a focus on participation, prevention, partnership and performance.

You can hear co-authors Jenny Brotchie and Pippa Coutts​ present at Holyrood's forthcoming event on Evidence-informed Policy and Practice on 31 January

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