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Public policy and what’s missing in action?

Policy Online carries a link (6.12.16) to the text of a Productivity Commission address by its deputy chair, Karen Chester, saying that evidence-based research is a critically endangered beast.

‘Today, you will hear and learn of the endeavors of the super research cluster. And research dividends in a field of public policy endeavour that matters. Today the $2 trillion behemoth meant to deliver better retirement incomes for working Australians. And some would argue it’s a field of much policy tinkering, but perhaps less well informed public policy design and development.

‘… A critically endangered beast — seldom seen and rarely funded. For today we find ourselves struggling to deal with what should not be intractable policy issues. And why intractable? I fear it is because three simple but essential prerequisites to good public policy are sorely missing in action.

‘Now the first prerequisite missing in action is evidence-based policy research and analysis. Something core to the cluster and the Productivity Commission’s DNA. The second essential prerequisite and very much missing in action, is policy and program evaluation. The third, and arguably the twin sibling of evaluation, is experimentation or piloting. And for the PC, these are the essential E’s of good public policy.’

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