July 2017


The conference “How to incorporate evidence into decision-making” brings together assessors and decision makers in order to progress towards evidence-informed policies

Only by assessing policies can we determine whether they achieve their intended results and, as a result, whether they work and how we can improve them.

In Catalonia there are various institutions and bodies specialising in assessment that share interests, sensitivities, concerns and major potential for forging synergies, despite each of them operating in their respective spheres. As a result, public assessment agencies such as the Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia (AQuAS), the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency (AQU Catalunya) and the Catalan Institute for Public Policy Evaluation (Ivàlua) work to inform decision-making in Catalonia in the spheres of health, education and public policy, respectively.

Accordingly, in order to capitalise on potential synergies in the promotion of evidence, the three agencies mentioned jointly organised the conference “How to incorporate evidence into decision-making” with the aim of bringing together the various agencies devoted to assessment along with the users or recipients of their results, i.e., public decision makers. The aim is to seek dialogue in order to find common ground and come up with joint strategies to ensure that the evidence generated leads to improvements in Catalonia’s policies and programmes.

To reach these objectives, the conference was markedly attended by Howard White, assessment promotion expert and CEO of The Campbell Collaboration, an international network devoted to the production and dissemination of evidence in the field of social policies. Furthermore, White is the founder of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), an alliance that brings together researchers and decision makers from around the world with the common goal of improving decision-making.

Taking into consideration his experience, during his presentation “Evaluation, coordination and evidence” White discussed methods for fostering alliances that would be able to establish assessment as a key component in decision-making, placing emphasis on what we understand by evidence, what types of evidence there are, how different countries in our area use evidence and how we can capitalise on this evidence in a context such as ours.

After Howard White’s presentation, firstly the assessment agencies took the floor detailing the tasks they perform in order to contribute to better decision-making, followed by the representatives from the public decision-making bodies, who spoke about the experience of said organisations as users of evidence.

The director of the Catalan Institute for Public Policy Evaluation (Ivàlua) Marc Balaguer spoke about the activities conducted by Ivàlua, highlighting the institute’s strategy of combining three components: assessing specific policies and programmes; disseminating existing evidence; and, training public decision makers and managers on using the assessment and ensuring it results in enhanced decisions and practices.


Ivàlua's strategy

L'estratègia d'Ivàlua

Secondly, in his presentation “Incorporation of evidence: the experience of AQuAS” AQuAS director Toni Dedeu set out the agency’s approach to the future, detailing the spheres of action through specific experiences and emphasising how important the data is for assessment and decision-making in the health sector.

Thirdly, under the title “Improvement and accountability: the example of AQU Catalunya”, the secretary of the Governing Board of AQU Catalunya Maria Giné presented some of the public tools at the agency’s disposal for enhancing and promoting the Catalan university system; specifically, tools geared to better decision-making on the part of the Government of Catalonia, universities, students and indeed future university students.

Lastly, public decision makers – who may be considered the users or consumers of the evidence – took part in the round table discussion “How can evidence be incorporated into decision-making in Catalonia?” They each spoke within their respective fields about issues relating to: the type of evidence that is most pertinent to them in decision-making; the formats and methods that make such evidence the most practical to them; the time when this kind of information could prove most useful to them; and, the key hurdles they encounter when it comes to incorporating the evidence into their practice.

Taking into consideration the contributions from Howard White, the three assessment agencies and the public decision makers, the conference sought to serve three functions: to identify best practices when it comes to establishing a liaison between assessment and decision making; to explore what avenues it would be fitting to promote here in Catalonia; and, to lay out a joint roadmap in order to continue to progress towards better public policies.


Com incorporar l'evidència a la presa de decisions


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