Systems perspectives on policy development and evaluation

Registration and further information here

Public policies are about changing systems, but conventional approaches to their evaluation have largely ignored this insight. This conference brings together researchers and policymakers from a range of sectors and disciplines. It will explore the value of systems thinking for understanding policy problems, finding policy solutions and evaluating them – with a particular focus on the implications of systems thinking for policy evaluation. The event is aimed at both academic and non-academic participants, including research users and research commissioners.

The event has been organised by the Policy Innovation Research Unit at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, with support from the SRA. Confirmed speakers:

  • What does it mean to have a systems perspective on policy development and evaluation? Diane Finegood, Simon Fraser University, Canada, whose research has ranged from basic clinical research on diabetes to health services research and population health research on obesity and chronic disease prevention. Her current research interests include public-private partnerships and systems thinking to address complex problems.
  • The imperative and demands of a complex systems lens on evaluation. Zenda Ofir, South African scientist and independent evaluator, whose assignments in nearly 40 countries – primarily Africa and Asia – have been for government, international NGOs, universities, science councils and foundations. She has advised international organisations and the Rockefeller Foundation’s evaluation office on evaluation policy or strategy.
  • Theory of change and systems change: what happens when two disciplines collide? Katie Boswell, Deputy Head of Funders within NPC’s research and consulting team. Katie has a particular interest in understanding and bringing about systems change. She co-authored NPC’s guide to high-impact campaigning, Shifting the dial and is currently working with Lankelly Chase Foundation on how theory of change can support systems change.
  • Wicked problems, wicked solutions: evaluating system change. Matt Barnard, head of the communities, work and income team at NatCen Social Research. He has led complex research and evaluation projects in policy areas such as drug treatment, gambling, offender management and interventions to address child maltreatment.
  • NHS England’s approach to evaluating complex system change: The New Care Models (NCM) Programme. Samantha Hinks, Operational Research and Evaluation Unit, Analytical Services, NHS England, is involved in evaluation of the New Care Models Programme in the English NHS which aims to generate whole system change.
  • A complex systems approach to creating and evaluating the conditions for health in low income communities. Katrina Wyatt, Deputy Director for engaged research at the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, and part of the Health Complexity Group in the University of Exeter Medical School. Her main research interests are in supporting healthful behaviours and reduce health inequalities, and evaluating complex system-based interventions.