As part of our work exploring what works in tackling poverty, the Public Policy Institute for Wales (PPIW) held a workshop to explore alternative approaches to poverty reduction.
The workshop highlighted weaknesses in current approaches to measuring poverty and concluded that there could be value in examining if the Welsh Median Income measure (alongside other measures) would better reflect the situation in Wales compared to the current UK income measure. Participants also discussed the need for poverty measures to take account of the ways in which many individuals and households move in and out of poverty and highlighted the lack of data below the All Wales level as a significant evidence gap.
There was also a consensus that policies need to pay more attention to the views and aspirations of those who are experiencing poverty, and a recognition that whilst collecting data is expensive, adopting different approaches to poverty reduction could usefully incorporate qualitative data to inform policy.
Evidence based targeted interventions were felt to be more effective than overarching strategies, and participants suggested that insights from a combination of approaches to poverty reduction could be beneficial and emphasised the importance of effective working across Ministerial portfolios to reduce poverty, together with measures that reflect the contributions of different portfolios.
The experts believed that future strategies could benefit from insights from a number of approaches. Equalities data could be used to identify groups who are disproportionately affected by poverty. A human rights/equalities based approach could help to ensure that mainstream services address the needs of the most vulnerable groups effectively.
Capabilities based approaches allow for a broader understanding of poverty and approaches which focus on assets rather than needs offer the potential to identify opportunities and develop programmes that are attuned to individuals and/or communities’ aspirations.