CISHE: AWARD Policy Research Conference - "Mind the Gap: Policy making and research in health and social care"
Starts: 23 January 2009
23rd January 2009 9:30am - 4:15pm, Glamorgan Building, Cardiff University
On Friday, January 23 the All Wales Alliance for Research and Development in Health and Social Care (AWARD) sponsored a one-day conference at the Glamorgan Building to offer a critical look at the use of evidence in policy making. AWARD has been funded for five years by the Welsh Assembly to undertake research to support policy-making. Based in Cardiff, Swansea and Bangor Universities, they have undertaken a broad range of research commissioned by policy makers at the Assembly. The conference brought together policy-makers, practitioners and academics and offered an opportunity to think critically about the use of research evidence in policy and practice.
The day was organised by the Cardiff team which is based within SOCSI and MEDIC and located at CISHE and the Department of Primary Care and Public Health. Gareth Williams, Chair of the AWARD Management Group, opening the day explained that as the funding came towards its end, it was an appropriate time to showcase some of AWARD's work and explore key issues for academics and policy-makers.
Following Professor Williams' introduction, three speakers offered complementary presentations of increasing complexity which explored key issues and generated interesting discussion within the eighty strong audience. Dr Michael Shepherd, Director of the Cardiff AWARD team gave an overview of the policy and evidence debate, calling for more critical thinking about the nature of policy-making and competing approaches. Professor Jenny Popay from Lancaster University followed on, discussing the potential for community empowerment approaches to policy development, basing her discussion on examples from around the world and her work for NICE. Finally, Professor Graham Scambler probed more deeply into the links between evidence-based policy and social theory, provoking discussion among delegates which extended into the lunchbreak.
At lunchtime, posters highlighting some of the work of AWARD from the Cardiff and Swansea teams were on display, while delegates digested and discussed the morning.
Following the lunchbreak, there was opportunity for more interaction as workshop sessions led by the Cardiff and Swansea teams which offered the chance to reflect and discuss the ideas presented during the morning in the context of work undertaken by AWARD in support of the Assembly. At the end of the day, Professor Martin Kitchener from Cardiff Business School took the Chair to introduce David Price from Edinburgh. Mr Price discussed the use and misuse of evidence in debates over Private Finance in the Health Service, offering a convincing case against the effectiveness of the policy. The day concluded successfully with a panel discussion Chaired by Professor Kitchener.
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