Posted by Allison Wong on Wednesday November 26th, 2014


In March 2013, the UK Government established the What Works Network, to embed the use of robust evidence in the development of local and national policy making. The Network aims to inform policy decisions and professional practice by showcasing evidence on programs in health, education, early intervention, wellbeing, local growth, and crime.

This week they released a report, which you can read in full here.

It contains a range of interesting findings across policy areas, including...

In education, where the Education Endowment Foundation has developed a Teaching and Learning Toolkit, which is a brilliant resource for educators that highlights the efficacy of different interventions. Some of their findings include:

  • peer-to-peer tutoring approaches, where learners work in small groups to provide each other with explicit teaching support, have, on average, a high impact on attainment at a low cost;
  • rewarding pupils’ effort with financial incentives does not lead to a significant improvement in results, according to a randomised controlled trial involving 10,000 pupils across England.

In crime reduction, the College of Policing will be launching an online crime reduction tool in 2015 to draw together the evidence. Early findings include:

  • research that police can be more effective at targeting crime ‘hot spots’ by patrolling in small areas where crime has been concentrated;
  • Everyday police behaviour to be an important factor in outcomes, as treating people fairly and with respect saw that they were more likely to obey the law in the future.

The newest centre in the Network, the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, was established last month and is chaired by Lord Gus O’Donnell. Lord O’Donnell was in Australia earlier this month, and spoke at an event at Sydney University on wellbeing, nudge and what works in policy (you can listen to the podcast). He also took some time out to meet with Professor Shlomo Benartzi while he was in Sydney.

Lord O’Donnell has written a blog post about his visit which you can read here.




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