Increasing the Impact of the What Works Network across the UK

Project status Active

Wales Centre for Public Policy is working with What Works Scotland, Queen’s University Belfast, the Alliance for Useful Evidence and a range of What Works Centres to increase the impact of the What Works network across the UK, in an ESRC-funded project.

The project involves running a series of summits for policymakers and public services across the devolved nations in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. These summits, taking place between November 2018 and September 2019, focus on evidence produced by What Works Centres which addresses issues that are priorities for the devolved administrations.


The project aims to:

Share knowledge and learning across What Works Centres

Encourage cross-jurisdictional learning and test out ways in which What Works Centres can engage effectively with devolved administrations

Improve access to What Works outputs by policymakers and public services in devolved administrations

Five summits have been held so far on the following policy areas:

  • Youth Homelessness Summit, Newport (November 2018): Hosted by the Wales Centre for Public Policy, representatives from local authorities across Wales, along with youth homelessness practitioners, came together to hear from the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, What Works Wellbeing, Centre for Homelessness Impact, and Llamau on evidence related to youth homelessness prevention.
  • What Works Summit: Early years, Belfast (February 2019): The Campbell Collaboration at Queen’s University Belfast invited practitioners, academics and policy makers to hear from What Works Centres the Education Endowment Foundation, the Early Intervention Foundation, and NICE, along with local researchers from Northern Ireland, about evidence related to early years. Find out more from this blog about the event.
  • Children and young people: using research and evidence to make change happen, Glasgow (April 2019): What Works Scotland brought together policy makers and practitioners from Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to discuss evidence related to place-based approaches to children’s outcomes.
  • What Works Summit: Youth mental health, Belfast (May 2019): Hosted by the Campbell Collaboration at Queen’s University Belfast, this summit involved third sector organisations, academics and policy makers, and featured presentations from What Works Wellbeing, NICE, and What Works Children’s Social Care, as well as local practitioners and researchers, on causes, prevention, and treatment for young people experiencing mental health difficulties. This blog highlights key learning from the event.
  • What Works Centres summit – Local economic performance, Cardiff (June 2019). Involving academics and policy makers from Wales, at this summit we heard from Wales Centre for Public Policy, What Works Local Economic Growth, and other researchers on evidence related to economic challenges in Wales. Follow the key moments of the day here.

To find out more about this project, please contact Emma Taylor-Collins, Senior Research Officer at Wales Centre for Public Policy.