Working to make government more effective


Devolution as a policy laboratory: Evidence sharing and learning between the UK’s four governments

Report to develop thinking on what can be done to increase UK-wide evidence exchange and policy learning.

In October 2015, the Alliance for Useful Evidence and Institute for Government held a joint roundtable event in Cardiff, exploring opportunities for evidence exchange and policy learning between the UK and devolved governments. We brought together senior civil servants and other experts from Whitehall and the devolved administrations to develop thinking on what can be done to increase UK-wide evidence exchange and policy learning. 

This report is based on that seminar as well as previous work carried out separately by our organisations on devolution and intergovernmental relations, the policymaking process, and the use of evidence in government. It focuses on a number of questions, including:

  • Why has policy learning across the four nations remained ad hoc to date?
  • What are the main barriers to evidence exchange between governments?
  • What examples of good practice exist and what can be learnt from these?
  • What are the opportunities for increased evidence exchange across the UK?
  • In which policy areas could increased exchange deliver the greatest benefits?
  • What can be done to improve the flow of evidence and ideas between governments?
  • What could support better evidence exchange amongst civil servants in the UK?


Related content

22 JAN 2024 Report

Whitehall Monitor 2024

Our annual, data-based assessment of the UK civil service, how it has changed and performed over the past year, and its priorities for the future.

08 FEB 2024 Insight paper

The Union and the state

Whether the UK survives in its current form or what it will look like if it doesn’t stay together, will hinge on which vision prevails.