2019 – In Review

As another tumultuous year draws to a close, we’ve been reflecting on some of the key achievements of the Wales Centre for Public Policy in 2019.  We are living in very interesting times, but the political uncertainties of the last year have made it all the more important that we can provide  policy makers and public services in Wales with authoritative, independent evidence on the most complex challenges they are grappling with: how to meet the spiralling demand for health and social care, how to respond to the climate change emergency, and how to promote economic prosperity and fairness – to name just three.

It is two years since the Wales Centre for Public Policy was asked to take on a broader mandate and work with public services as well as Welsh Government ministers.  In that time, we’ve published more than 40 reports working with over 100 experts drawn from across the UK, and as far afield as Canada and Sweden.

Recent reports have included work on: Welsh Local Government and austerity; supporting improvements in health boards; and the impact the UK Government’s Immigration White Paper might have on the Welsh Economy.

We have worked with Chwarae Teg on the Gender Equality Review commissioned by Ministers, producing reports on tackling inequality through gender budgeting, and lessons to be learnt from Nordic nations.

We’ve analysed why Welsh councils are taking increasing numbers of children into care, looked at what Wales can learn from high growth regions across Europe, and considered how to measure the value of trade unions to their members and to employers.

We’ve published 30 blogs, with topics ranging from the need for a ‘just transition’ to a net-zero carbon society, to tackling the issue of loneliness, to whether the Preston Model offers a basis for Wales’ own procurement reform, to a review of the rates of male suicide.

We’ve convened a series of What Works Summits to bring the evidence produced by other What Works Centres to Wales and the other devolved nations, and we’ve hosted important events in Wales and in London, including: a conference with the Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research and Data on policy and politics in unprecedented times; a seminar with Cardiff University’s Social Science Research Park on the benefits and best practise of knowledge mobilisation, with Professor Jonathan Sharples of the Education Endowment Foundation delivering the keynote address; and a conference between public procurement professionals and experts, including Liz Lucas of Caerphilly CBC and Steve Robinson of Cardiff Council, on the practical challenges facing procurement professionals and practical steps to address them.

In the Summer we launched our new podcast PEP Talk, which provides a bite-size and engaging overview of topics such as youth homelessness, council tax and vulnerable debtors, and gender equality. Listen out for our latest episode on trade unions in the New Year.

We were delighted to be named as a finalist for our Outstanding Impact on Public Policy  at the prestigious ESRC Celebrating Impact Awards. This was a real team effort and I’d like to thank our funders, the experts who were have partnered with, ministers, officials and public service leaders who have worked with us, and all my colleagues in the WCPP team for making 2019 such a success.

On behalf of the Centre we wish you a peaceful Christmas and very happy New Year.