The Centre will bring together the evidence about the relative impacts on wellbeing of policies and projects, their cost and the quality of the evidence. The evidence programmes have been commissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council on behalf the What Works Centre for Wellbeing. The Centre also has a role to support the development of the evidence base.
A What Works Centre is independent of government with a clear and relevant policy and delivery focus. The functions of a Centre are to:
- Undertake systematic assessment of relevant evidence and produce a sound, accurate, clear and actionable synthesis of the global evidence base which:
- Assesses and ranks interventions on the basis of effectiveness and cost effectiveness
- Shows applicability
- Shows the relative cost of interventions
- Shows the strength of evidence on an agreed scale
- Put the needs and interests of users and stakeholders at the heart of shaping a workplan
- Advise those commissioning and undertaking innovative interventions and research projects to ensure that their work can be evaluated effectively
- Publish and disseminate findings in a format that can be understood, interpreted and acted upon
- To help produce a common currency for comparing the effectiveness of interventions
- Identify research and capability gaps and work with partners to fill them
The What Works Initiative is based on the principle that good decision-making should be informed by the best available evidence on what works and what does not. It aims to improve public services for people and communities by ensuring that resources are focused on those things which will have the greatest positive impact.
What Works Centres are fundamentally different from standard research centres. They aim to directly support policy makers, commissioners and local practitioners by providing reliable, accessible products which communicate the likely impact of real policy initiatives, and building professional capacity to use evidence effectively. This report gives an overview of the What Works Centres, bringing together a selection of their recent findings.
With the what works centre for wellbeing, there are now nine Independent What Works Centres, including one in Scotland and one in Wales, supported by a combination of ESRC, Government, and charitable funding.
About What Works Centres
The first two established Centres
- Health & Social Care – National Institute for Clinical and Health Excellence (NICE);
- Educational Attainment – Education Endowment Foundation (EEF)
New centres established since July 2011
- Crime reduction –part of the new College of Policing
- Local economic growth – hosted by LSE, Arup & Centre for Cities
- Ageing better – a Big Lottery Funded trust
- Early intervention – delivered by the Early Intervention Foundation
- Poverty – lead by the Public Policy Institute for Wales
- What Works Scotland – public service development and reform
- Wellbeing – a collaboration with a broad range of partners