P19 Policy expertise and evidence-informed policy-making

Panel Chairs:
Alec Fraser and Brian Head

Corresponding Chair:
Alec Fraser, alec.fraser@kcl.ac.uk

There is international interest in the relationship between expert knowledge and the concerns of policy makers and public managers. Much ongoing research has highlighted the enablers (investment, skills, better data, forums, relationships) that can promote more evidence-informed policies and evaluations within specific policy areas (e.g. improving education, healthcare, environment). There have also been some attempts to develop conceptual schemas that can facilitate comparisons across cases and countries.

There is now a recognised need for systematic research on how expertise and research are utilised in different policy areas, and across different policymaking processes and institutional settings. This panel provides a forum for developing and sharing comparative research experiences on the relationship between expertise, research, policy and practice. Such discussion is welcome across policy themes, across institutional settings, and across national boundaries.

Systemic obstacles to the adoption of expert knowledge are well-known. These obstacles include populist discourses which are hostile to ‘expert’ knowledge. More broadly, the use of expertise is constrained by the politicised context of policy debates and governmental commitments; the search for political trade-offs and compromises; low awareness of evaluation findings on the part of public officials or decision-makers; and ineffective communication by researchers and other experts. ‘Bridging’ and ‘brokering’ strategies have emerged to promote closer linkages.

Papers are welcome on any topic aiming to enhance conceptual and/or empirical understanding of how expertise is mobilised or utilised in public policy settings, and the advancement of “Smart Public Services”. Some relevant questions might include:

  1. How do the relationships between expertise and policy differ across policy issues, sectors or countries?
  2. What strategies are used to promote or embed expertise in policy processes?
  3. What conceptual models are useful for framing these case analyses?
  4. What are the research gaps?

We invite abstracts with max 500 words (including references) to be considered for inclusion for this panel.