The first of two blogs following this event, from the perspective of the lead facilitator, Dr Paul Brand
‘The Complexity in Evaluation Workshop: What we did and what we learned’
This was my first experience of facilitating for CECAN. I’d heard about it from colleagues who are involved and it all sounded fascinating, but perhaps a little ‘technical’ – possibly even a tad ‘dry’.
This event was publicised as:
“This 2 day residential workshop, conducted under the Chatham House Rule, will bring together evidence teams, policy makers, policy analysts, complexity scientists, evaluation experts and experts in Nexus subjects.”
Fascinating I thought, but not necessarily a hotbed of creativity and passion. How wrong I was!
The post event feedback included comments like:
‘A journey’, ‘worthwhile’, ‘enjoyable’, ‘dynamism’, ‘energy’ and ‘larding’ (the latter I will explain later).
Dr Ulrike Hotopp, Chief Economist, Simetrica and member of the Council of the UK Evaluation SocietyI have only recently joined the small economic research consultancy Simetrica. Before this I spent 16 years in the Government Economic Service, starting as an economic advisor in DTI in 2000 (now known as BEIS). I first worked on employment policy and one of my main tasks was to produce Impact Assessments for new employment regulation using the tools of Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA). These can also be described as ex-ante evaluation – forecasting the impact of new regulation.
Having done a few of these, an important question is: how realistic was the assessment? Was it really true that improved maternity rights had no impact on female employment but instead improved the rate of women returning to work after having a child? Were there any wider micro and macro economic effects? On other groups in the labour market, company profits?
Emma Uprichard and Robert MacKay, University of Warwick
Interviewed by Candice Howarth, University of Surrey
CECAN is exploring how evaluation of policy can better inform the impact those policies have and assess the extent to which these have been successful. In order to do this, access to data is crucial, yet can at times be problematic. CECAN’s Knowledge Integrator, Candice Howarth met Emma Uprichard and Robert MacKay from the Centre and based at the University of Warwick and asked them over a series of emails to explain what the implications of some of these challenges are.
Why is data needed in evaluations?