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“What Works?” - investing in social policy


“What Works?” - investing in effective social policy

A conference focusing on investment in social policy leading to better social outcomes and economic growth is attracting leading international researchers and evaluators to Wellington this week.

The Social Policy, Research and Evaluation Conference 2004 brings together the policy, provider, research and evaluation communities and emphasises evidence-based policy and practice. It’s theme is “What Works?”.

Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey and Research, Science and Technology Minister Pete Hodgson say the 25-26 November conference recognises the importance of developing evidence-based social policy and practice.

“The conference is part of the government’s drive to focus on good social policy,” the Ministers said. “Other work has included the Social Report, training and evaluation for staff, coordination of social policy across all departments and the soon to be released Opportunities for All.

“In the past social policy has tended to be treated as an area of expenditure without any clear evidence of what particular policies lead to improvements for society and the economy,” the Ministers said. “This government has been taking very important steps to find out which social policies work so it can invest in what is effective and not continue with policies that don’t prove themselves.”

Steve Maharey says that governments around the world are coming to the view that investment in effective social policy supports economic growth. “We are investing in policies and programmes that are supported by evidence-based research, not driven by ideology as has been the case in the past.”

Pete Hodgson says social research needs to be relevant and high quality. “Social research needs to respond to the twin goals of excellence and relevance if it is going to make the contribution to policy we expect. This conference is about making the connections to achieve these goals”

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