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David Halpern to head up What Works network of policy research centres

Policy, evidence, RCT

David Halpern has been announced as the national adviser for the What Works network of policy research centres. Halpern will oversee the development of the six independent centres which make up the network, ensuring that they meet the required standards and deliver on time.

The centres, which were launched officially in March, will gather evidence to inform government policy in health, education, crime reduction, early intervention, ageing and local economic growth respectively. The areas they cover account for more than £200bn of public service spending.

Halpern will take on this commitment for one year alongside his role as director of the Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Insights Team (commonly known as the nudge unit). After this period, an open competition will take place for the job.

As well as monitoring the performance of the six centres, Halpern will set up and chair the What Works Network Council. This will promote the network’s approach across government and encourage ministers and government leaders to base their policy and spending decisions on evidence. Halpern said the network has the potential to make improvements across the whole of government, “from the humblest detail of a form to the grand sweep of policy”.

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