Some policy interventions are better able to change individual behaviour than others. RAND Europe, as part of the University of Cambridge Behaviour and Health Research Unit, explored whether contextual factors and the nature of evidence influence a policy’s acceptability and success and focused on four key behaviours relevant for current policy challenges: smoking, diet, physical activity and alcohol consumption. The researchers found that public acceptability of government interventions to change behaviour is greatest for the least intrusive interventions, which are often the least effective, and for interventions targeting the behaviour of others, rather than the respondent him or herself.
Local authorities in the UK can benefit from a new tool developed by RAND Europe to measure the impacts and outcomes of local regulations designed to restrict sales of products harmful to children. The tool, developed for the Better Regulation Delivery Office, will help those who regulate alcohol, tobacco, knives, fireworks, sun beds and gambling to measure the progress of their work. Researchers also delivered a workshop in each topic to specialists from local authorities across the country.
As a method for awarding research funding, peer review suffers from many drawbacks and yet is by far the most commonly used method to make funding decisions. RAND Europe revised and updated its pack of Alternatives to Peer Review to inspire funders to practise and test alternative methods for picking research winners.
RAND Europe provided the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy with a rapid assessment of the innovation and competitiveness impacts of the EU's proposed General Data Protection Regulation affecting: automated processing; control of data processing; and data transfers. The briefing considers a variety of perspectives—profiling; big data; cloud computing; and privacy-friendly technologies—and identifies a variety of impacts and areas for improvement.
Conditional cash transfer programmes (CCTs) are seen as particularly effective in low- and middle-income countries, but relatively little is known about the interface between the supply of services and programme administration and specific human development outcomes. RAND Europe assessed the effectiveness of CCTs through a two-year grant from UK Economic Social Research Council and Department for International Development.
Governments in the UK have attempted to establish quality improvements, but new procedures have often fostered ill feeling and may have encouraged the opposite behaviour. RAND Europe evaluated the outcomes of a major study on how to engage clinicians in different disciplines in improving the quality of the healthcare they provide; the result is the UK's most extensive systematic body of evidence on engaging clinicians in quality improvement.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust asked RAND Europe to evaluate the early stages of its peer worker programme, an initiative in which people with personal experience of mental health challenges are employed to support those currently receiving services. The evaluation indicated that the programme is having a positive impact and also highlighted a number of areas for improvement associated with its implementation.
Many cash transfer programmes designate women and mothers as transfer recipients, on the assumption that doing so will lead to better outcomes. RAND undertook a systematic review for the UK Department for International Development to assess whether transferring cash to women rather than men in low- and middle-income countries has a greater impact on household well-being.
To better understand the factors that affect doctors' behaviour and decision making, the UK General Medical Council (GMC) commissioned RAND Europe to study the factors that encourage or discourage doctors from acting in accordance with good practice. This research sought to enable the GMC, which regulates and licenses medical professionals in the UK, to inform the development of policy and a programme of work aimed at supporting doctors to adhere to good practice in the care and management of patients.
The World Bank commissioned RAND Europe to examine the interventions used in Romania to tackle error, fraud, and corruption (EFC) in Romanian cash benefits. The research team provided the World Bank with a short assessment on the basis of fieldwork and background research of what the Romanian government is doing in the field of EFC and, subsequently, to formulate suggestions on how the government could improve its EFC approach.
Efforts to improve human development outcomes in Southeast Asia are often hindered by problems with the governance of social assistance programmes. Governance broadly refers to the rules that govern interactions in the public sector, the relationships more widely between the public and private sectors, and the interactions between citizens, communities and state. The World Bank commissioned RAND Europe to develop a toolkit on how to improve governance in ASEAN countries.
The World Bank is interested in the linkages between governance, service delivery and human development outcomes. The Human Development Chief Economist's Office has asked RAND Europe to determine if OECD countries have been effective at using provider incentives in health and social protection policy areas, as their experiences may be able to inform programmes used in developing countries.
Because improving health and social care interventions through integrated care may be one way of addressing the changing needs of the English population, the Department of Health commissioned an evaluation of 16 integrated care pilots. The evaluation revealed that greater integration of care has led to improved care processes, more satisfied staff and reduced use of hospitals. However, some aspects of patient experience were less positive following the pilots and the intended reduction in emergency admissions was not seen.
“In 2040, those over the age of 65 will represent more than 45% of the working age population aged 15-64 in the EU27. The reality is that people will have to work longer in the future, regardless of whether they want to or not. It’s inescapable," said Chris van Stolk in an interview with European Knowledge Networks about his report, Impact of the Recession on Age Management Polices
RAND Europe has published an evaluation of the Greek research and development (R&D) system which identifies opportunities to improve economic growth and social outcomes. The Greek government commissioned the work to inform its plans to create a sustainable platform for research and development in Greece. The report concludes that a reform programme can succeed. Solutions would involve reducing fragmentation, developing critical mass, and addressing issues of enduring concern and comparative advantage.
Tommy’s, a charity that aims to reduce the number of premature births and miscarriages, funds pregnancy-related medical research at three centres in the UK. RAND Europe developed a set of indicators for Tommy’s to monitor performance of the research centres and then carried out a further review of the collection of performance indicators. Tommy’s is now implementing set of recommendations to capture a wider range of outputs and impacts from the research in a more consistent way.
Developed as part of the "Science of Science" programme for the UK’s Department of Health, this short paper examines the use of prizes to support the objectives of the Department’s Research and Development Directorate. It reviews the use of performance measures and incentives and concludes that prizes should play a more significant role in the UK health R&D system than they have to date. It is not suggested, though, that they should replace existing systems.
With the move towards evidence-based policymaking, public sector organisations increasingly need high-quality data, including statistical and qualitative data. An exploration of international good practice in the use of data in policymaking identifies key choices to be made, applies a conceptual framework to thirteen case studies, and examines how organisations in the fields of health, consumer, food and feed safety and animal welfare policy handle their data needs in policymaking.
The economic crisis of 2008 undid much of Europe's progress in employment and economic growth over the previous 20 years. Vulnerable populations in particular have suffered the brunt of the impact. Improving their labour force participation and reducing income inequality will require social investment in policies that complement welfare approaches to social insurance and allow individuals to achieve their full productive potential and participate in the labour market.
Unstable and violent political environments often give rise to a range of complex problems for peaceful development. An examination of best practices in the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of stabilisation efforts points to the importance of an integrated approach that allows monitors to retain flexibility and adapt indicators when necessary. It also highlights the role that theories of change and contribution stories can play in helping M&E interventions be more effective.
The European Commission is considering revising its Tobacco Products Directive and commissioned RAND Europe to help assess the key health, social, and economic impacts of five policy options under consideration. The study used a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods, including rapid evidence reviews and econometric and health-economic modelling techniques, to assess the economic and health effects of future regulation.
For policymakers, the scientific community and governments to choose wisely when allocating research funding, they need a better understanding of the potential impact of research. Project Retrosight analysed 29 carefully selected cardiovascular and stroke research case studies in three countries using the Payback Framework. It examined the impact of the research and identified factors associated with various levels of payback.
To what extent are information and communications technologies (ICT) being used to transform the public sector? This is the premise behind a benchmark assessment carried out by RAND Europe and its partners to identify those European countries that have implemented the most mature, transactional eGovernment services. The unique benchmark has been in place since 2001 and assesses the EU27, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Turkey, and Croatia.
Structured approaches to manage chronic conditions are widely seen as a means to improve the quality and reduce the cost of care for those with chronic disease, but evidence such approaches achieve these ends remains uncertain. To help advance the methodological basis for disease management evaluation, RAND Europe has reviewed the academic and grey literature on evaluation methods and metrics to identify key challenges and possible solutions to assess the effects of complex health interventions.
Healthcare planning enables decision makers to influence and direct the provision of health services, but its relevance is highly contextual. Researchers have developed a framework to assess, improve and enhance healthcare planning, and have conducted a case-study analysis of the framework to identify the common challenges faced by Germany, Austria, Canada and New Zealand as well as the differences in each setting.