Journal article

Beyond “prevention is better than cure”: understanding prevention and early intervention as an approach to public policy

Policy analysis Policy implementation Prevention Evidence-based policy Early intervention services


Experience suggests that enthusiasm for acting early to prevent a policy challenge from emerging or worsening often wanes when confronted with the reality of implementing effective policies. This paper draws on insights from the policy making literature to identify key themes that support the development of prevention and early intervention as an approach to public policy. Using qualitative data from two dialogue sessions, this paper shows how these themes reflect policy experts’ and practitioners’ conceptualisations of such an approach. Finally, this paper identifies opportunities for policy-makers to improve the design and implementation of such policies through greater understanding of the perspectives and roles of stakeholders and the use of public resources.

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