Background: In 2013, the UK Government launched the What Works (WW) Network, a national initiative to improve the way government and other organisations create, share and use (or ‘generate, transmit and adopt’) high-quality evidence for decision making. WW Centres support the principle that good decision making is informed by the best available evidence. If evidence is not available, robust methods should be used to find out what works.
• describe the WW Network in the UK;
• reflect on ‘knowledge to action’ systems and how intermediary organisations can help bridge research, policy and practice; and,
• describe how we collaborate between centres.
Description: We will present an overview of the WW Centres in the UK and the collaboration across the network.
Each What Works Centre has responsibility for a named area of public policy and has its own specific aims and outputs. Since the creation of the network, we have been working together to identify and realise shared aims. More recently this has included the creation of working groups; each with a specific remit and activities. These focus on priority areas for collaboration and shared learning, such as guidance development and research to practice networks.
We will present a summary of these activities and explore how shared learning in diverse areas of practice is of benefit.
Conclusions: Evidence-based decision making is not just for healthcare; many areas of policy can benefit from such an approach and increasingly, guidelines are seen as useful tools in areas such as education and crime. Principles learnt from the years of evidence-based practice in healthcare can be useful; however, adaptation and flexibility is needed to ensure that outputs are relevant to the intended users and can achieve the intended aims – for example, crime reduction or increased educational achievement. There will be distinct methodological challenges and potentially innovative solutions. Established evidence-based practitioners and users can learn from these innovative approaches.