Evidence-based decision making in a climate of political expediency: insights from local government

WOODALL, James, HOMER, Catherine, SOUTH, Jane, COOKE, Jo, HOLLIDAY, Judith, MULLEN, Shane, STAFFORD, Bernard, FREEMAN, Charlotte and HARTLEY, Anna (2024). Evidence-based decision making in a climate of political expediency: insights from local government. Perspectives in Public Health.

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Abstract

Aims: Local authorities in England are responsible for public health and health promotion. This paper sought to explore how research and decision-making co-exist in a local authority in England. Methods: An Embedded Researcher was based within the local authority and used qualitative methodology to address the research aim. Interviews and focus groups were employed to ascertain a range of stakeholder views in the local authority. All transcripts were coded on NVivo 12 by the Embedded Researcher and two members of the research team cross checked a sample for coding accuracy. Data were analysed using framework analysis Results: The data suggests several barriers to using research to inform decision-making in health promotion and public health. The study show that research is valued in local authorities, but not always privileged – this is due to cultural factors and practical political reasons which often means that decisions need to be made expediently. Participants outlined a juxtaposition between academic credibility; timeliness to complete the research; and the financial cost associated with it; against the independence and credibility that independent academics could bring. Conclusions: Policy formulation and delivery is an integral aspect of health promotion and critical to achieving improved population health and reductions in health inequalities. However, there exists tensions between gathering research evidence and making research-informed decisions. The paper concludes by advocating the use of Embedded Researchers to fully understand how research is gathered and utilised to support public health and health promotion policy-making.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1117 Public Health and Health Services; Public Health; 32 Biomedical and clinical sciences; 42 Health sciences
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 09 May 2024 14:52
Last Modified: 09 May 2024 15:00
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/33702

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