The Public Policy Institute for Wales (PPIW) has been invited to join the UK wide What Works Network. The Network, set-up in 2013, brings together experts who are assessing evidence from around the world to find out which interventions work best in reducing crime, improving educational attainment, encouraging economic growth, ageing well, and tackling poverty.
The PPIW will act as the link between these ‘What Works Centres’ and policy makers in Wales. It will help to ensure that the Centres take account of Welsh problems and priorities in their work and that Welsh Ministers have full access to their findings.
The latest report produced by the network claims that billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money can be saved by identifying which interventions are most cost effective. Some of the examples it points to include:
- More lives could be saved or improved if people with acute heart failure were routinely treated by specialist heart failure teams;
- The use of peer tutoring in schools, where young people work together in small groups, has a high positive impact on achievement;
- Repeating a year at school is an expensive intervention that has consistently been found to have a negative impact on attainment.
Commenting on the report, UK Cabinet Office Minister Grant Shapps, said:
“At a time when finances are tight it is crucial that taxpayers’ money is spent in the most effective way. Last year the UK public sector spent £674 billion on important projects and initiatives in this country. These findings, and the continued work from the What Works Network, will help minsters and decision makers spend money even more effectively, creating a more efficient government and making substantial savings for the tax payer.”
Professor Steve Martin, Director of the PPIW, added:
“Being part of the What Works Network is a really positive step for Wales. It will enable us to help Ministers draw on robust evidence to inform the Welsh Government’s spending decisions. Working closely with the What Works Centres means that we can share and spread successful Welsh policies throughout the rest of the UK as well as learn from what has worked best elsewhere. The ‘What Works Centres’ are already producing valuable results and I am pleased that Wales is now a part of that.”