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Policy Success and Failure: Embedding Effective Learning in Government

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14/11/2018 | 9am - 7pm
St Catharine's College, Cambridge

With a plenary presentation from Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP, Member of Parliament for Normanton, Pontefract, Castleford & Knottingley.

What constitutes success and failure in public policy? The focus on the effectiveness of policy delivery by modern governments has thrust questions of policy success and failure firmly into the spotlight. But how do policy-makers interpret and learn from policy successes and failures? How do policy-makers use expert evidence to inform their decisions in the first place? What can different national polities learn from each other about best practice in policy-making? How can we embed a culture of effective policy learning in institutions and governments? This workshop brings together practitioners, academics and other policy stakeholders to seek answers to these vital questions on a collaborative basis, using case studies from the UK and internationally.

The workshop will explore:

(i) How policy-makers define success and failure in public policy

(ii) How policy-makers learn lessons from policy successes and failures

(iii) The roles played by evidence and expert advisers in the policymaking process

(iv) The sharing of best practice across policy communities in the UK and internationally

A policy-facing report will be generated from the workshop summarising the key findings from the day.


How do policy-makers perceive and act upon successes and failures?

Chair: Lindsay Aqui (Cambridge)

Panellists: Claire Dunlop (University of Exeter), Jagjit Chadha (National Institute of Economic and Social Research), Matthew Hanney (former senior advisor to Nick Clegg)

How does evidence-based policy help us safeguard against failure?

Chair: Stephen Meek (University of Nottingham)

Pannellists include: Peter John (KCL), Claire Craig (Royal Society), David Johnson (Department for Work and Pensions)

What can different countries learn from each other about delivering major infrastructure projects effectively?

Chair, Mike Kenny (Cambridge)

Panellists include: Tim Marshall (Oxford Brookes), Dr Yan Zhang (University of Cambridge), Ian Mell (University of Manchester)

What does ‘success’ mean in UK economic policy?

Chair, Diane Coyle (Cambridge)

Panellists: Vicky Pryce (former Director General of Economics in BIS), Dr Patrick Diamond (Queen Mary University, London), Helen Thompson (Cambridge)

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