BBS secures multi-million pound research grant share to develop policy analysis and evaluation tool

Brunel Business School has secured more that £380,000 to help develop an online tool which will enable citizens and policymakers to better evaluate and analyse the effectiveness of government policy.

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The EU-funded Policy Compass project is led by Fraunhofer, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation. The three-year project has received a total grant of 2.7m euros, with £385,457 awarded to Brunel Business School. Dr Habin Lee, Reader in Management, supported by Dr Vishanth Weerakkody and Professor Zahir Irani, Head of Brunel Business School.

The project will develop the Policy Compass, a highly visual and easy-to-use tool for social networks and e-participation platforms.

This intuitive tool will enable the public, and professional policy makers, to increase the quality and transparency of policy analysis by allowing them to construct, share and debate progress metrics (variables that can monitor the progress of new policies or policy changes) and causal models of policies (models which show the cause-effect relationship between policy variables and indicators – e.g. the relationship between unemployment and educational attainment).

The Policy Compass project will make use of the increasing amount of data available across Europe to develop and integrate tools which empower citizens and policy makers to better assess government policies.

The Policy Compass will also allow policy makers to judge the expected impact of a policy change at the policy development phase, while further on in the cycle they will be able to use progress metrics to monitor the impact of policy changes at the implementation phase. Citizens will be able to define and monitor the progress of new policies and become more involved in future debates on proposed policy changes.

The Policy Compass will initially be trialled in Cambridgeshire, UK and Leningrad, Russia.

In Cambridgeshire the Policy Compass will be tested as part of the policy process around the new Skills Strategy for Cambridgeshire leading up to 2020, which aims to improve the skills of young people and adults across the region. The focus of the research in Leningrad will be on the Development of the Information Society in Leningrad region 2014-18.

Dr Habin Lee said:

“This is an exciting project that will change the landscape of public consultations currently exercised in Europe. The citizen’s role in policy modelling and analysis so far has been passive by providing opinion and waiting to see the outcome. Policy Compass will allow collaborative policy modelling and analysis between citizens and policy makers through a shared visualisation tool, allowing citizens to get one step closer to policy making.”

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