The Public Policy Institute for Wales launched a new programme of work today (Tuesday 15 April, 2014) at an event sponsored by Jeff Cuthbert, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty.
Funded through an £800,000 investment from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the What Works in Tackling Poverty programme will bring together research organisations with policy makers from Wales and across the UK. A call for research was issued earlier this month and the successful projects will be announced in July. The programme will provide new evidence about important, but previously under-researched, topics such as:
- in-work poverty
- child neglect
- poverty among 16-25 year olds who live alone
- poverty linked to mental health problems and physical disabilities; and
- poverty during periods of transition.
The ESRC is also funding the Public Policy Institute for Wales to work with the What Works Centres in England and with What Works Scotland to apply their research to Wales and support Welsh Ministers to engage with their findings on a wide range of policy issues including crime and policing, ageing, educational attainment, public services reform and local economic growth.
The launch was attended by more than forty participants including senior government officials, local authority poverty champions, representatives of the third sector, academics and other policy expert including keynote speakers Julia Unwin (Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation), Paul Gregg (from the UK Government’s Commission on Social Mobility and Child Poverty) and Maureen Howell (Deputy Director of the Welsh Government’s Tackling Poverty Division).
Julia said: “Poverty has a scarring effect across the lives of all those who experience it. I welcome this launch of the What Works programme at the Public Policy Institute for Wales which is a significant new contribution to the eradication of poverty in Wales.”
Maureen Howell, speaking on behalf of the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, emphasised his commitment to learning what works best in tackling poverty and welcomed the fact that the ESRC had selected the Public Policy Institute for Wales to coordinate the programme.
Paul Gregg outlined some of the challenges facing policy makers in Wales and other parts of the UK as they seek to address the changing nature of poverty and emphasised the importance of universities, the civil service and other organisations outside government in promoting social mobility.
In a lively and informative discussion, participants highlighted important questions covering a wide range of issues including the;
- Best ways of communicating evidence about ‘what works’
- Importance of co-producing evidence with policy makers and with communities
- Need to take account of long term outcomes
- Challenges involved in securing joined up working across government and between different tiers of government, and
- Links between poverty and the physical environment.
Photos from the Launch