What role can evidence play in improving policy decision and outcomes? How can it support better policy making and delivery?

PEP Talk explores policy, evidence and practice in Wales. Each episode we’ll address a challenge facing those of us who work across public policy in Wales, looking at the scale of the issue, and what the evidence says about how we should go about tackling it.

You can listen to each episode by clicking on the links below:

Episode 14 – Loneliness, Older People and Technology 

We discuss lessons drawn from the experience of the pandemic that could help this sector of society which is particularly affected by loneliness.

Read our report – Older adults and the pandemic: tackling loneliness through technology

Podcast host – WCPP’s Josh Coles-Riley

Guests – Lead author of the report – Professor Julie Barnett of Bath University along with John Gallander and Carol Barrett

Episode 1Youth Homelessness

This episode we look at the issue of youth homelessness. We ask how youth homelessness is defined, what the situation is here in Wales, what’s being done to tackle the issue, and what further steps need to be taken to eradicate it completely.

Read our report: Preventing Youth Homelessness


Frances Beecher – Chief Executive Officer of Llamau

Jonathan Webb – Former Research Officer at the Wales Centre for Public Policy

Kaitlin Schwan – Senior Researcher at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, based at York University

The episode also includes a pre-recorded interview with independent housing researcher, Tamsin Stirling, who we asked about how well local authorities across Wales are working to get to grips with youth homelessness in their communities


Episode 2Council Tax and Vulnerable Debtors

This episode we look at the issue of council tax and vulnerable debtors. We ask why the number of people in council tax arrears in Wales is increasing, what factors are underpinning it, how council deal with the issue, and what better solutions are there for dealing with it.

Read our report: Responding to Citizens in Debt to Public Services.


Dr Helen Hodges – Research Officer at the Wales Centre for Public Policy

Professor Sharon Collard – Research Director of the Personal Finance Research Centre, University of Bristol

Lee Phillips – Wales Manager, Money and Pensions Advice Service


Episode 3Gender Equality

This episode we ask what gender equality looks like in practical terms, what it looks like in other countries, and what still needs to happen before reaching the Welsh Government’s aim of becoming the UK’s first feminist government.

Read our reports: Tackling Inequality Through Gender Budgeting and Learning from Nordic Nations.

You can read the Gender Equality review in full on Chwarae Teg’s website.


Cerys Furlong – Chief Executive of Chwarae Teg

Dr Angela O’Hagan – Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences in the Glasgow School for Business and Society, and Deputy Director of the Wise Centre for Economic Justice

Magnus Jacobson – Gender expert and Communication Strategist at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR)


Episode 4The Value of Trade Unions in Wales

This episode we look at value of trade unions in Wales, and how they might respond to the challenges and opportunities of the current economic context.

Read our report: The Value of Trade Unions in Wales.


Nisreen Mansour – Policy Officer at the Wales TUC

Professor Alan Felstead – Research Professor at Cardiff University’s School of Social Science

Dr Craig Johnson – Research Associate at the Wales Centre for Public Policy 


Episode 5Tackling Loneliness and Social Isolation during Lockdown

In this special lockdown edition of PEP Talk, Dr Hannah Durrant talks to Julie Barnett (Professor of Health Psychology, University of Bath) about loneliness and social isolation during the Coronavirus lockdown, and the role of technology in alleviating those experiences.

Read our report: Loneliness in the Lockdown.


Episode 6 – Tackling loneliness in and out of lockdown: the role of good communication

In this remotely recorded edition of PEP Talk Laura Bennett speaks to Clare Delargy and Robin Hewings about loneliness during lockdown, and the importance of meaningful, clear, and effective communication; particularly from public services and Government sources.


Clare Delargy – Principal Advisor at the UK Behavioural Insights Team

Robin Hewings – Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research at the Campaign to End Loneliness.


Episode 7 – Post-Brexit Migration and Wales

In this remotely recorded edition of PEP Talk Dr Craig Johnson speaks to Professor Jonathan Portes, Dr Sarah Kyambi, and Llyr ap Gareth about the likely impacts of post-Brexit migration policies, and they offer insight into the ways in which the Welsh Government could seek to respond to the challenges and maximise the opportunities that the new migration rules will present.

Read our report: Post-Brexit Migration and Wales


Professor Jonathan Portes – Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the School of Politics & Economics, King’s College, London

Dr Sarah Kyambi –  Director of Migration Policy Scotland

Llyr ap Gareth – Senior Policy Advisor at the Federation for Small Businesses (FSB) Wales.


Episode 8Improving Race Equality in Wales 

In this remotely recorded edition of PEP Talk Manon Roberts talks to Professor Charlotte Williams and Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna about the nature and scale of racial inequality in Wales, with a focus on education and health and social care, and offer insight into the ways in which the Welsh Government could seek to respond, particularly with their forthcoming Race Equality Action Plan.

You can read our reports:  Improving Race Equality in Wales 


Professor Charlotte Williams OBE – Honorary Professor at Bangor University and Chair of the ‘Communities, contributions and cynefin: BAME experiences and the new curriculum’ working group

Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna – Professor of Management and Organisation at Cardiff Business School and Chair of the First Minister’s BAME COVID-19 Socioeconomic Subgroup.


Episode 9Rural Wales Vision

In this remotely recorded edition of PEP Talk, Aimee Morse talks to Professor Michael Woods and Guto Davies about the Rural Wales Vision, a report commissioned by the Welsh Local Government Association Rural Forum to develop a strategic framework for future policy impacting on rural Wales and to identify policy asks for the Welsh and UK governments. The discussion focuses on the references to agriculture as the Rural Wales Vision aims to enhance and complement future agricultural policy by addressing a range of challenges, including through investing in the skills base and activities to add value to the range of primary products derived from farming activity.

Read our report: Collaboration and policy implementation at the local level in Wales – A case-study evaluation of a farmer group in North Wales


Professor Michael Woods – Professor of Human Geography at Aberystwyth University and Co-director of the Centre for Welsh Politics and Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research.

Guto Davies – Member of the Sustainable Management Scheme funded Fferm Ifan Farmer Group and tenant farmer on the National Trust Ysbyty Ifan estate.


Episode 10Education recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic

In this remotely recorded edition of PEP Talk, Manon Roberts talks to Becki Bawler and Harry Fletcher-Wood about the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic to the education system in Wales, and offer insight into the ways in which the Welsh Government and broader education system could seek to respond; with a particular focus on blended teaching and learning, and teacher professional development.

You can read our work on this topic here: Education attainment: Responding to the Coronavirus pandemic.


Becki Bawler – secondary school teacher in a south Wales comprehensive and a Doctorate in Education student at Cardiff University

Harry Fletcher-Wood – former history teacher and current educational researcher, mostly focused on teacher development


Episode 11 – Reform of Electoral Law

In this live podcast and Q&A session, recorded ahead of the local government elections on 5 May 2022 and hosted by Dr Larissa Peixoto Gomes, we discuss the reform of electoral law and practice. It covers issues including improving candidate safety (particularly for women and people of colour), innovating electoral practice, campaign finances and spending, and the possibility of early voting.

Read our report: Reform of Electoral Law and Practice.


Professor Laura McAllister – Professor of Public Policy and the Governance of Wales at the Wales Governance Centre in Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics and Co-Chair of of the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales

Colin Everett – Former Chief Executive of Flintshire County Council


Episode 12 Supporting Lifelong Learning in Wales 

In this live podcast and Q&A session, Dr Jack Price discusses supporting the lifelong learning system in Wales with expert guests Dr Sue Pember and Kathryn Robson.


Dr Sue Pember CBE (Policy Director, Holex)

Kathryn Robson (CEO, Adult Learning Wales)

Read our report: Supporting the Welsh Lifelong Learning system


Episode 13 – Poverty and Mental Health

In this edition of PEP Talk Anna Skeels talks to Emma Gooding, Mike Theodoulou, and Marcel Vige about poverty in Wales, and the negative effect in can have on mental health.


Emma Gooding -Policy and Communications Manager, Samaritans. Samaritans is a charity dedicated to reducing feelings of isolation and disconnection that can lead to suicide.

Mike Theodoulou – Chief Executive, Foothold Cymru. Foothold Cymru is a community-based charity working to reduce poverty and helping people exercise their own strengths and skills to achieve lasting change.

Marcel Vige -Head of Equalities Improvement, Mind. Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

Read our review: Poverty and Social Exclusion