As part of the International Conference on Administrative Data Research held in Cardiff in December 2019, our impact colleagues from across the ADR UK partnership collectively delivered a workshop on impact in the devolved nations.
The research taking place across our partnership is aligned to government priorities and aims to make use of the vast, rich array of administrative data to help inform evidence-based policy and government decision-making, in turn improving public services and benefitting lives. Building strong pathways to impact is therefore critical to maximise the utility of this work and show how administrative data can support policy and practice in key areas such as children and families, healthcare and crime.
In the conference workshop, ADR Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each examined their local contexts and the ways in which they are building relationships and engagement to support impact delivery.
Harriet Barker, Impact and Knowledge Exchange Manager for ADR Scotland, presented Scotland’s National Performance Framework as a way of framing research around key societal issues in a Scottish context. She highlighted the importance of stakeholder mapping and relationship building across the policy landscape both within Government, the third sector and beyond. Currently seconded to the Scottish Government, Harriet spoke about the value of proximity to enhance understanding of each other’s contexts and drivers and maximise capacity building and mutual benefits. Finally, Harriet introduced ADR Scotland’s ‘Data Insights’ format, an accessible way of sharing research findings as they are emerging, so that non-academic audiences can access and utilise the research.
Elizabeth Nelson Gorman, Public Engagement, Communications and Impact Manager at Administrative Data Research Centre Northern Ireland (ADRC NI), used ADRC NI’s deployment of a co-production model to discuss the importance of public engagement for strong pathways to impact. By bringing key stakeholders onto steering committees for each project, ADRC NI maximises both engagement with people and organisations with other kinds of expertise and knowledge of the issues researchers are exploring, and buy-in and ownership from people and organisations who can turn research findings into policy and societal change.
Elizabeth discussed how this model of co-production has allowed researchers to work closely with community organisations as well as policymakers to develop and design impactful research and knowledge exchange events. These targeted events bringing together NGOs, service providers, policymakers and elected representatives, provide a useful forum for a discussion of research and impact beyond the academic context, and are particularly useful in Northern Ireland where there has been no devolved government since January 2017.
Cathrine Richards, Head of Impact Management at ADR Wales, spoke about how the team in Wales has been constructed to be able to inform issues regarded as the most pressing in Wales. Citing the nation’s national strategy – Prosperity for All – she explained how ADR Wales has created distinct research programmes that aim to address specific questions on the priority topics for Wales, and how the set up aims to put academics, policymakers and key stakeholders at the heart of the research undertaken.
Cathrine outlined how ADR Wales sets out its research utilising both academic and policy expertise and the dual publication ambition that aims to create research of academic and policy value. She also discussed how ADR Wales plans and builds in impact from the initial stages of the research and how, through consultation with steering groups, networks, public engagement and a tailored approach to communication, aims to develop the opportunity for impact in a truly bespoke manner.
You can find examples of research impact from across the ADR UK partnership on our impact page. If you are a researcher interested in working with administrative data to deliver insight that changes policy and improves lives, why not get in touch?