Research can have 'real' impact

April 7, 2000

Phil Baty's article ("Labour policy poses threat to freedom", THES, March 31) runs contrary to the government's commitment to better use of evidence and research in policy-making.

Robust and objective evaluation of research in government is important; however, social research should not and will not be restricted to simply "auditing" policies, as the article suggests.

Department for Education and Employment research contracts place no restrictions on researchers discussing their findings with journalists.

The potential for original research to have a real impact on government policy is greater than ever. One of the aims of the Centre for Management and Policy Studies is to ensure that policy-makers across government have access to the best research and evidence. This will be achieved through the creation of an infrastructure for policy development in government.

Two key elements of this include a CMPS resource centre, which will draw on research and evidence from the research community and link with the government research and analytical information network; and the development of interactive websites to facilitate cross-departmental participation in policy making, a major component of which will be the inclusion of relevant research and evidence. This vision is reliant on the involvement of the wider research community in real debates about the future direction of society.

Ron Amann. Director general, Centre for Management and Policy Studies. Cabinet Office.

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