Improving evidence use in local government

Fostering links between academia and local government has long been a concern for those interested in promoting evidence-informed practice. While the barriers and enablers of evidence use are well known (Langer et al. 2016) and there is a growing body of literature on local government practitioners and academics as research partners, less is known about how best to facilitate these partnerships.

To explore this issue, the Wales Centre for Public Policy (WCPP) partnered with Cardiff Council and Social Care Wales on a four-month National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded project to increase links between the council, public health, and academia. The project explored the mechanisms, relationships and networks needed to support and fund high quality research engagement in the Children’s Services department at the council.

As part of this project we held three online workshops with representatives from Children’s Services, Cardiff University, Social Care Wales, Welsh Government and the third sector, and ran a survey with Children’s Services staff on approaches to research use and evidence-informed practice at the council.

In this briefing we report on findings drawn from the workshops and survey, grouped under three key themes related to evidence-informed practice and research use at the council:

  • Current practice
  • Barriers to good practice
  • Opportunities and proposed ways forward.