Understanding and assessing the evidence of what works in delivering better economic outcomes for communities is rarely straightforward. Initiatives are not always properly evaluated and when they are often turn into simple self justification.
The recently established what works centre for local economic growth seeks to change that. The centre, a collaboration between the LSE, the Centre for Cities and Arup, will review policy areas such as employment, skills, housing and regeneration and will provide policymakers with the evidence and insights they need to design and deliver services that will drive local economic growth and employment.
The centre will identify certain local growth policy areas and assess the effectiveness of existing interventions, by ranking them to see how strong the evidence is, how it has been applied, and its cost-effectiveness. Local government is a target audience for this work.
While this project appears to be focusing on England, it has attracted some interest north of the border. It may well have some lessons for Scotland in an area of public policy that has a limited evidence base here as well.