Presentation by Dr. Rebecca Hanlin of The Open University UK, on getting knowledge into policy, during the training on The Art of Influencing Policy Change: tools and strategies for researcher, held by The Scinnovent Centre on 12th -14th February 2013 in Nairobi
Policy process presn-12feb13- rebecca hanlin [compatibility mode]
Getting knowledge into policy: what works andwhat doesn’t Rebecca Hanlin ESRC Innogen Centre Open University
Group work (10 mins)• What is the difference between knowledge and research and evidence?• How have you tried to get knowledge into policy before?• How (un)successful have you been and why do you think that is?
Depends on effort or luck (and actor?)…• Different theories of how policy and decision making is made:Knowledge levels – Linear and rational models – Bounded rationality/ satisficing modelsEffort and luck – Windows of opportunity – Chaos theory and garbage can modelsEffort and agency – Street level bureaucrat
Depends on context• Social• Political• Economic• Networks and connections= windows of opportunities type issues
But what is policy influence?• Not just where in the process but also with what… goes back to the knowledge/ research/ evidence question• Also the how - mechanisms for influencing*• Change agents ideaALL dependent on what trying to influence…
Types of policy influenceType of policy influence Description ExamplesIDEAS AND BOUNDARIES Influencing ‘policy •Putting an issue in the policy domain horizons’ by influencing • Encouraging dialogue and networking debate and policy • Improving the intellectual frameworks thinking • Broadening the parameters of the debateTECHNICAL Influencing technical •Shaping specific features of policy or aspects of programme programme design design or • Reforming existing implementation programmes/policiesPROBLEM AND SUCCESS Transforming policies • Influencing how the success orDEFINITION and affecting the ‘policy problem is defined and how the impact regime’ through is understood fundamental design of • Engaging with the values and policies ideology underpinning policyCAPACITY AND PROCESS Building capacity and •Influencing how policymakers changing the way approach decision-making policymakers use • Influencing how they use knowledge and evidence in the policymaking process evidence • Supporting policymakers to develop to make policy innovative ideas • Supporting policymakers to
Not linear or exact process• Alternative, unplanned consequences of policy influence• Negative and positive…• Takes time and effort unless have window of opportunity• Being targeted is important… (building it in to activity from the start – bringing in end beneficiaries)
The context mattersContext scenario Description How should researchers’ respond?Clear government demand Policymakers want knowledge and are Researchers need to build ready to act on it relationships of trust with They have the capacity to receive and policymakers and build a use advice reputation for reliability The policy window is wide open to researchersGovernment interest in The window of influence is partially Researchers should takeresearch but leadership is open leadershipabsent The issue is considered as important Pay careful attention to Structures to implement research communication between research recommendations are missing and policy communities Researchers need a plan of implementation or a champion amongst policymakersGovernment interested in The significance of the issue is Researchers need to help buildresearch but with capacity acknowledge in the policy community capacity for concerting knowledgeshortfall But the necessary capacity for into policy and action adoption/implementation is lacking They need to try and move the Links between research and decision- issue up the ranks of decision- making are generally weak making
The context matters...cont’dContext scenario Description How should researchers respond?A new issue activates research but New issue captivates the Chances of success are improvedpolicymakers and uninterested imagination of researchers when researchers apply adroit Policymakers are indifferent strategies of advocacy, Political support for the new communication and education idea/research is lacking within and beyond the policy This is a high-risk context for community researchers and their workGovernment is disinterested or The window of influence is tightly Exercise patience andhostile to research closed determination Researchers are probably ahead of Recognize that influencing policy their time or the policymakers are may demand long and systematic not ready to engage with persuasion implications of new research Things change, attitudes evolve; preferences shift; needs arise and realignments happen Windows will open
How does research influence policy?• By expanding policy capacities – Enhancing the policy community’s collective ability to assess innovative ideas and analyze research advice• By broadening policy horizons – Introducing new ideas into the policy agenda; packaging information into ready-to-use formats; fostering dialogue between researchers and decision-makers• By affecting decision regimes – The quality of a policy is determined both by the procedures of deliberation as well as its contents
Mechanisms of influence• How can one influence? Discussion (10 mins)… precursor for the next 2 days of activity – What are the mechanisms, tools, strategies you can adopt? – Does it matter what research it is (idea, technical, process approach etc.)? – Does it matter who you are trying to influence? – Does it matter who you are?
Introduction to policy briefs activity (25 mins)• Two readings… if you haven’t read them (both) over night; you’ll need to read one now• Who has read what?• Break you into 2 groups – each group will concentrate on one paper• You are going to use these to do an activity around policy briefs – one of the most often used mechanisms of trying to influence the policy process.
Before starting… what are policy briefs?• Summaries of research findings, evidence that you feel is of interest to a decision-maker• Not technical language but understandable to lay person• Short, snappy, creative in format• Specific to your target audience i.e. same research findings could be written into 2-3 different briefs each for a different decision- maker group
Group activity • In your two groups (15 mins): – Decide what are the key messages to take from the paper which you want to ‘sell’ to a decision maker – How have you made that choice? (what decision-maker, how many messages, why one and not another etc.)
Group activity • In your two groups (45 minutes): – Write a one page policy brief that summaries the key messages you have chosen – Think about whether you want an introduction/ background section – Think about how much of the research process you want to discuss – Think about how much detail on the results you go into – Think about how you convince a decision-maker to want to know more?
Group activity • In your groups (20 minutes): – Review the policy brief that was developed from the research and: • Identify the differences between the two • List what you think works and what doesn’t in both briefs now you have something to compare yours to. • Overall, which do you think is the best and why?
Group activity • In Plenary (30 minutes): – How easy/difficult did you find writing the brief? – How easy/difficult did you find to reach a compromise with your team mates? – Report back your thoughts following the comparison of the two briefs
Take home points• Short summaries (could it be read over breakfast?)• Lay audience (could your granny understand it?)• Creative (I want to pick this up?)• Interesting (I want to know more?)