The Public Policy Institute for Wales (PPIW) officially opened for business today and we’ll be working hard to get things up and running as quickly as possible.
The Government fired the starting gun back in October 2012 when it announced an open competition to run the Institute and invited a wide range of organisations to submit their proposals to take on the job. Following an interview process with an independent panel in December of last year the First Minister announced in a written statement in May that he was asking us to take on the role.
The decision to create the Institute is an exciting and innovative development. Its mission is to work directly with ministers to provide them with access to high quality, independent expert advice and to identify the evidence and knowledge they need to help inform and improve policy making and delivery.
There has been growing interest in evidence based policy making and some important recent initiatives, including the creation of the Alliance for Useful Evidence and the ‘What Works Centres’ which are being jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and government departments. But as far as we can tell, there’s no other body anywhere in the world that is working in the way the PPIW will be doing. So Wales really does seem to be breaking new ground.
The success of the PPIW will depend on the quality of the expertise it is able to provide. So we are delighted that researchers from Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Liverpool, South Wales and Swansea universities, the Bevan Foundation and Wales Public Services 2025 have already joined our network of experts. And we will be looking to build relationships with other universities, independent research institutes and think tanks across the UK and further afield as the PPIW’s work develops.
There will be a formal launch with the First Minister early in 2014. But in the meantime there is plenty for us to be getting on with. Over the last three months we’ve had discussions with the full cabinet and special advisers as well as one-to-one meetings with each Minister and Deputy Minister to identify the issues they would like advice on. Based on these discussions, we will now be agreeing an initial work plan with the First Minister. This will guide the PPIW’s work for Ministers over the coming six months. We will be publishing details of the plan on our website once it has been agreed so that everyone can see what we’re working on, and we’d welcome comments and questions about any or all of these first tranche of assignments.