Better use of data to enable effective policy reform
The ADRN was established across the UK to enable new insights into cross-party challenges such as social mobility and supporting families with multiple disadvantages. Some projects are looking specifically at the impact of lifestyle across health, environment, food and transport as these topics are priorities across government.
Widening participation in higher education is another priority. Research in Northern Ireland has identified the most important factors that can influence representation in higher education, especially in the transition from secondary education. Such findings can prove invaluable to policy makers and government analysts working to improve people’s lives in the UK.
Working with the Welsh government, the Network has helped to assess the impact and effectiveness of specific policies developed to support access to the health service in Wales. This research demonstrates how academia can work with policy makers and government analysts to review existing policies and identify potential areas for reform.
Other projects in the ADRN will provide evidence-based insight into the link between early-life social development and environmental background, and dementia risk; the relationship between fuel poverty and ill health; the risks and protective factors around child development and the relationship between social mobility, economic activity and educational attainment.
The real value of this research is in the peoples’ lives it can save or dramatically improve through the policies that stem from it. Without the ADRN, none of this would be possible.
The ADRN has the capacity to implement the UK Statistics Authority’s Code of Practice and approved researcher standards, and the secure infrastructure to maximise the potential benefits to government analysts, the wider research community and the public.
Lord Willetts, speaking at a Talk Big Data event at the University of Essex in November 2016 highlighted how social researchers in the UK are still heavily reliant on the 1958 and 1970 cohort studies as there has been little useful data available in the last 30-50 years. Government researchers need access to other relevant data to effectively analyse and ultimately, help policy makers and society.
“Making intelligent research possible leads to a better understanding of society and may improve lives. One crucial cross-party challenge is around solving the social mobility debate. Recent voting outcomes both sides of the Atlantic have demonstrated the significant anxiety people have, that things are getting worse, and fears that children today will have less opportunities than they have.” Lord David Willetts, Executive, Resolution Foundation and former MP for Science and Universities, 28 November 2016
To find out how the Network can help your department use its administrative data and securely link it with other department data to become more effective please get in touch.