2. The contribution of existing work on the intersection of evidence and policy-making

This work has benefitted from initial work on ‘Policy Advisory Systems: Supporting Good Governance and Sound Public Decision Making,’ which helped to initiate OECDs work on evidence-informed policy-making. (OECD, 2017[1]).

Building capacity for use of evidence and evaluation in the civil service can also benefit from the broader frameworks developed by the OECD in the context of its work on the civil service in relation to public employment and management on skills. The report on “Skills for a High Performing Civil Service” highlights the critical contribution civil servants make to national growth and prosperity, whilst recognising that global trends such as digitalisation are challenging the public sector to work in new ways (OECD, 2017[2]). Additionally, this report outlines ways in which the public service needs to also be strategic and innovative to adapt to the modern context. This report looks at the capacity and capabilities of civil servants of OECD countries. It explores the skills required to develop better policies and regulations, to work effectively with citizens and service users, to commission cost-effective service delivery, and to collaborate with stakeholders in networked settings (see Figure 2.1). The skills for policy design are those that are most likely to be strengthened by greater capacity for evidence update in the civil service. This previous report offers a framework through which countries can begin to assess the skills they presently have or gaps that may exist. The report also identifies promising trends and innovations in civil service management that can help countries create strategies for their public service.

On the issues related to innovation in civil service management, the report on ‘Core Skills for Public Sector Innovation’ was prepared in the context of the OECD Observatory on Public Sector Innovation (OECD, 2017[3]). This publication outlines six core skill areas that are designed to support increased levels of innovation in the public sector and increase policy-makers’ ability to innovate. These skills include iteration, data literacy, user centricity, curiosity, storytelling and insurgency. These skills allow for innovation through encouraging policy-makers to try new ideas, ensuring that the needs of people are being addressed, that decisions are data-driven and that policy-makers are able to explain the changes that are being made. Some of these skills are also very relevant to build capacity for evidence-informed policy-making, including data literacy and user centricity (See Figure 2.2).

This work also builds on the European Commission Joint Research Centre’s (JRC) longstanding experience of working at the intersection of science and policy. The JRC has developed a Framework for Skills for Evidence-informed policy-making, mapping the essential for researchers active in the science-policy interface. This report addresses the supply side of evidence, and analyses the set of collective skills needed for the research community to inform policy through evidence (European Commission, 2017[4]). The resulting professional development framework consists of eight skills clusters with each cluster addressing a specific part of the collective skillset required to increase the impact of research evidence on policy-making. It includes wider generic skills such as ‘Interpersonal Skills’ and ‘Engaging with Citizens & Stakeholders’ as well as skills specific to evidence-informed policy-making, such as ‘Synthesising Research’ and ‘ Monitoring & Evaluation’. Beyond this framework, the JRC is currently exploring how to understand and explain the drivers that influence policy decisions and political discourse as part of its Enlightenment 2.0 project identified above.

The European Commission has also developed a “Toolbox for a quality public administration” which aims to support, guide and encourage those who want to build public administrations that will foster prosperous, fair and resilient societies (European Commission, 2017[5]). It lays out principles and values of good governance, placing evidence at the heart of policy-making.


[4] European Commission (2017), Framework for Skills for Evidence-Informed Policy-Making | JRC Science Hub Communities, JRC Science Hub, https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/communities/en/community/evidence4policy/news/framework-skills-evidence-informed-policy-making (accessed on 3 March 2019).

[5] European Commission (2017), Quality of Public Administration - A Toolbox for Practitioners, https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=738&langId=en&pubId=8055&type=2&furtherPubs=no (accessed on 7 February 2019).

[3] OECD (2017), CORE SKILLS FOR PUBLIC SECTOR INNOVATION, https://www.oecd.org/media/oecdorg/satellitesites/opsi/contents/files/OECD_OPSI-core_skills_for_public_sector_innovation-201704.pdf (accessed on 24 January 2019).

[1] OECD (2017), Policy Advisory Systems: Supporting Good Governance and Sound Public Decision Making, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264283664-en.

[2] OECD (2017), Skills for a High Performing Civil Service, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264280724-en.

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