The ideaPosted: January 2, 2012
So here’s the idea: a think tank where the research and policy analysis is done by the people who use and provide public services. This means service users, and public sector and voluntary sector professionals. Not as a better form of consultation, but as a way to create better social policy based on their insight of what works and what doesn’t.
Because its work would be founded on real expertise and lived experience, this think tank could produce research and analysis that is more credible, insightful, non-partisan and inclusive compared to much of the work produced by advocacy think tanks. Its policy recommendations would be more practical and better supported by more public service professionals and the public. By using a web platform to conduct its research, it could also operate far more cost-effectively, so reducing costs for the organisations commissioning research, and potentially opening-up the market for research to a much wider set of organisations.
One of the things I’ll be discussing in this blog is how the way we create policy at the moment is broken and out-of-date. Given the cuts and the pressures facing public services, there’s surely never been a more important time to improve social policy and to make much better use of the assets we already have – especially by drawing on the practical expertise of the people on whom public services depend.