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Using data and developing targets

A strong, well structured evidence based approach allows Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) to do three critical things:

  • Clearly identify the major challenges and priorities that face them in their locality- "what do we need to know?"
  • Be able to determine the most appropriate policy and intervention response to address their key priorities and achieve their stated outcomes.- "what works"?
  • Be able to track, over time, the impact the CPP is having against their identified priority outcomes- "what difference are we making"?

The Cabinet Office Strategic Policy Team, defines evidence as being drawn from the following sources:

  • Expert knowledge - For example, specialist analytical officers, statisticians, public health practitioners and professional staff in associated policy areas.
  • Published research - A wide range of social policy research, for example studies carried out by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and other social policy think tanks and research organisations, such as the Young Foundation.
  • Existing statistics - National datasets, such as Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics, the wide range of statistical information published by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation.
  • Stakeholder consultations -. Local research studies, both qualitative and quantative can play a critical role in developing understanding of poverty and deprivation in an area. Examples include community engagement exercises, citizen's panels, focus groups with service users and so on.
  • Previous policy evaluations - Evaluations carried out by the CPPs can be very useful sources of evidence with regard to the practical application of previous approaches. For example a number of previously ring fenced funding streams, for example, Better Neighbourhood Services Fund, Community Regeneration Funding, Working for Families and so on have had national and local evaluations carried out to ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of earlier approaches to tackling poverty and deprivation.
  • Costing of policy options - An analysis of the cost benefit and/or value for money of different interventions, for example different approaches to tackling worklessness.
  • Outputs from economic and statistical modelling - These approaches tend to be undertaken at a national as opposed to local level.

Research has shown that there are four requirements for improving evidence use in policy and practice. In the context of Community Planning Partnerships and the Outcomes approach these requirements are

  • Agreement, between Community Planning partners and with wider stakeholders, as what counts as evidence and in what circumstances, and critically a common understanding of what the evidence is "telling them".
  • A strategic approach to the development of an evidence base with a systematic effort to accumulate evidence that is strong, relevant and up to date.
  • Effective dissemination of evidence across the CPP and to wider stakeholders to where it is most needed and the development of effective means of providing wide access to knowledge.
  • Initiatives to ensure the integration of evidence based approaches into policy and encourage the utilisation of evidence in practice.

On this page you can also access a document written by the Improvement Service on the evidence base for outcomes.