Policy success and failure: embedding effective learning in government

Policy Government services Evidence-based policy Evidence-informed 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? How does policy learning take place and 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?

In November 2018, the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Cambridge, brought 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. 

This report offers:

  • Two pages of topline recommendations for practitioners on how to make successful policy
  • A summary of the event’s key conclusions across the three main areas that emerged on the day
  1. How do policy-makers define success and failure in public policy?
  2. How do policy-makers learn lessons from policy successes and failures?
  3. What roles do evidence and expert advisers play in the policy-making process?
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