Newsletter: July 2014   
News
Blog series: how can a What Works Centre for Well-being be useful?

Government and funders are looking to set up a new Centre. We asked potential ‘users’ how it could help them, find out what they said
SPARK: European Commission launches guide to testing social policy innovation

To help public service providers across Europe do more social policy experimentation, a new primer has been produced by the Alliance and its SPARK partners. The focus is on methods such as Randomised Control Trials and other commonly used techniques such as statistical matching.

Training and events for policymakers - based on the guide - are taking place in Copenhagen, Prague, Madrid, Warsaw and across Europe. You can find out more here.  
Hard Evidence: less media spin

How dangerous is mental illness? Are young people's job prospects improving? Do prisons work?

There are a lot of public policy questions that grab the headlines but it isn't always easy to separate agenda from fact. That's why we've renewed our 
funding of Hard EvidenceYou can find out more about Hard Evidence, the topics it has covered and offer your own suggestions here
Publications and Blogs
Our year two report: what did we achieve?

We've just published the overview. This was an internal report to our funders, which we have made public. It details our achievements over the last year - and areas we can improve on. 
Evidence-based policy: approach has its limitations

If a policy area is to be taken seriously within government, then quantitative benchmarks and targets are a must. But this approach is misguided. A 'turn to data without ideas and arguments' will only lead to frustration for researchers trying to influence policy, according to Dr. Warren Pearce, University of Nottingham.
House of Commons committee explores potential of real time analysis of social media

A Science and Technology Committee inquiry is looking into the benefits of research on live information provided by Twitter, Facebook and other data. The ONS is interested in the potential of social media data 'to support the production and quality assurance of official statistics', writes Jason Leavey who drafted a submission by the Alliance to the inquiry.
Re-cycling is good: what can we learn from the 'What Works for Children' initiative?

Professor Helen Roberts asks: is there anything that can be re-cycled from the evidence centres funded by the ESRC over a decade ago? 
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