We have been extremely busy in the six months since the First Minister launched the PPIW in January, and felt that now would be a good time to share some of the highlights and early work which the Institute has been doing.
The Institute works directly with Welsh Ministers to help improve policy making and delivery by providing access to independent authoritative advice from experts from across and UK and beyond.
Among our earliest outputs have been four pieces of evidence reviews for the Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery under the chairmanship of Sir Paul Williams. We’ve also recently published a report on the impact that indebtedness is having on deprived communities, written by Dr Victoria Winckler, who is one of Wales’ leading authorities on poverty. And we commissioned the internationally acknowledged housing expert Professor Christine Whitehead from the LSE to advise the Minister for Regeneration and Housing on ways to increase the supply of affordable housing in Wales. A blog outlining Christine’s key recommendations is available on our website.
Other work which is nearing completion includes expert advice on strategic transport planning, a think piece on the staffing and location of the Welsh Government overseas offices, an analysis of the regulation and financing of bus services in Wales, and rapid reviews of international experience conditional entitlements to healthcare and prioritising access to elective surgery. These and other pieces of work by our experts will be coming out over the summer.
As well as taking forward this work for Ministers, we are funded by the Economic and Social Research Council to provide a link between Wales and the ‘What Works’ Centres in England and Scotland. Our role is to operate as a What Works Centre for Wales helping other Centres to ensure that their work is relevant to Welsh policy priorities and to make their findings available to policy makers in Wales.
We are also leading a programme of more in-depth longer term research on What Works in Tackling Poverty. Keep an eye out for an event with the research leads in the early autumn.
We are grateful for the support we have received from Ministers, the experts who have agreed to work with us, our board of governors and executive group and the wider policy community in Wales and beyond. A sign of our early success is that we’re already growing and are currently advertising for two additional Research Officers to help us to take forward this innovative, challenging but we think very exciting initiative to help make sure that policy makers have access to the best possible advice, analysis and thinking from independent experts.