£200bn public spending programme

Monday March 4th, 2013

Government Opportunities (GO)A new initiative will build on existing evidence-based policy making to guide decision-making on £200bn of public spending.

National government and local public services will benefit from access to a world leading network of centres providing robust, comprehensive evidence to guide decision making on £200bn of public spending, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, and Minister for Government Policy, Oliver Letwin announced.

The What Works Network, a key action in the Civil Service reform plan, will consist of two existing centres of excellence – the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the Educational Endowment Foundation – plus four new independent institutions responsible for gathering, assessing and sharing the most robust evidence to inform policy and service delivery in tackling crime, promoting active and independent ageing, effective early intervention, and fostering local economic growth.

This initiative will build upon existing evidence-based policy making. These independent specialist centres will produce and disseminate research to local decision makers, supporting them in investing in services that deliver the best outcomes for citizens and value for money for taxpayers. The centres will also feed insights into the heart of government to inform national decision-making. It is the first time a government anywhere has set up such a model at a national level.

Extending evidence-led policy making in this way was a key action in the Civil Service Reform Plan, launched last June, and the Open Public Services White Paper of July 2011.

Since these publications, government departments have worked with partners including the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Big Lottery Fund to develop a model that will pull together world-leading research to answer the most pressing issues facing public services.

The network will be part-funded by the government with significant contributions from ESRC. The Big Lottery Fund is the sponsor and principle funder of the centre for ageing better.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said it remains vital that the government continue using evidence-based policy making to shape decisions on public spending, particularly in this financial climate, he added the network would aid this.

Minister for Government Policy, Oliver Letwin, said: “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.”

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