Monday, March 22, 2010

Design Evaluation for Public Policy

On Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th March 2010, Design Wales attended the National School of Government course ‘Evaluating Public Policy and Programmes’ in anticipation of the third SEE workshop. Design Wales is Lead Partner of the SEE Project, a network of eleven design organisations examining how to integrate design into regional policy. SEE is operating from September 2008 to June 2011, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVC programme. The third SEE workshop will be held in Florence on 10th and 11th May and will focus on ‘Evaluation Tools for Implementing Design Policy’. As Lord Kelvin stated in the Worldwide Governance Indicators brochure, ‘If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it’. Evaluation is a key stage in the policy cycle, one which is too often overlooked due to lack to resources. The course involved a six stage policy simulation exercise which addressed each step in the process of evaluation for evidence-based policy-making. The course will not only provide input for the thematic workshop but will also provide valuable input for the third SEE Policy Booklet on the same topic. As James Moultrie mentions in the first SEE bulletin, ‘Whilst there is some evidence to demonstrate the value of design to the firm, there are very few studies that have successfully demonstrated the value of design at a regional or national level’. Therefore evaluation is one of many barriers to achieving the SEE objective of integrating design into regional policy. The absence of a pan-European definition for design means that design is hard to measure and if you cannot measure performance, you cannot evaluate its contribution to public policy. Therefore the challenge set for the third SEE workshop will be investigating various tools and methods for evaluating design in a policy context.

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