I have always been passionate about using evidence to create more effective public services and influence for the better the decisions people make in their everyday lives.
In my first public intervention as Cabinet Secretary, I talked about the benefits to the nation’s health of the evidence-based work of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). And I asked a question: if NICE makes sense for medicine, why don’t we have a NICE for the other public services? This was only partly rhetorical.
Four years on, we have seven What Works Centres along the lines of NICE, operating across the policy spectrum, from crime to wellbeing, to help establish more effective policies, both in impact and cost.