The Policy > Action Network (P>AN) is hosted by the Research Use and Impact Assessment Unit (RIA) at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and is supported by the Department of Science and Technology.

P>AN supports the policy community by sourcing information on social policy with the aim of contributing to rigour in policy making and greater participation in policy processes. This site contains a range of resources including case studies, policy briefs, research reports, events info and ‘how-to’ info on getting research into policy, and getting policy into action.

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Newsletter: From Evidence to Action

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Briefing on Ghana's evidence informed policymaking programme, suggesting that it seems to have had a positive residual impact on individual civil service personnel who participated between 2013 and 2016. However, individuals still face institutional barriers to using data and evidence to inform programs and practices. The programme contributed to knowledge and skill building among colleagues and peers. Mandatory action plans included in the EIP training process required trainees to collaborate with colleagues in their respective ministries, creating an opportunity for them to sensitize their colleagues to the importance of using data and evidence. Trainees also reported that they briefed managers and colleagues about what they learned and drafted formal write-ups on the course. The EIP training also fostered the development of informal networks of contacts across national offices involved in evidence production and use. One group of trainees formed a WhatsApp group to keep in touch with one another after the training program ended and reported that they used the group to share information and invite networking and collaboration.

Can boundary objects be designed to help researchers and decision makers to interact more effectively? How can the socio-political setting – which will affect decisions made – be reflected in the boundary objects?

Describes a new context-specific boundary object to promote decision making based on scientific evidence. But first I provide a brief introduction to boundary objects. 

In transdisciplinary research, employing a ‘boundary object’ is a widely used method to facilitate communication and understanding among stakeholder groups with different epistemologies. Boundary objects are abstract tools adaptable to different perspectives and across knowledge domains to serve as a means of symbolic communication.

Boundary objects help people to think outside the box and communicate in different ways. Such objects can take multiple forms from conceptual models, artwork and graphical tools.

The aim of this paper is to explain the evolving size and shape of South Africa’s government machinery. The country’s state apparatus underwent extensive organisational restructuring following its democratic transition in 1994. However, this base component of South Africa’s public administration has largely been overlooked in the post-apartheid literature, which has focused on a host of more politically-sensitive issues such as personnel restructuring, service delivery pressures, and maladministration and corruption. In an effort to address this gap in the story of state transformation the structural evolution of the state in the democratic period is traced. 

This documentary, directed by Miki Redelinghuis, chronicles the battle for the land of Makhasaneni – a by-now familiar struggle. In 2011, residents discovered geologists prospecting on their land. Soon afterwards, crops began dying. The soil and water became too contaminated to continue farming. The land, they learned, had been sold to mining giant Jindal Africa by their chief, who got the go-ahead from the Ingonyama Trust. Ingonyama, set up at the tail end of apartheid, holds nearly three million hectares of traditional land in KwaZulu-Natal, with King Goodwill Zwelithini as the sole trustee (Daily Maverick). To arrange screenings go to:

This booklet has been authored by Professor Anton Eberhard and Catrina Godinho of the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. The aim of this reference book is to assist Public Enterprises Committee members with objective, research-based facts on some of the deeply complex challenges Eskom. The aim is to make sense of complex situations and explain these, and that by joining the dots this booklet will contribute to the empowerment of civil society, journalists, and concerned members of the general public, so that they can follow and support the inquiry. The booklet touches on Eskom’s coal procurement controversies (squeezing out the coal majors and making room for the Gupta-linked Tegeta and Optimum ‘heist’), large refurbishment contracts (such as the Koeberg steam generators and Duvha’s Unit 3 boiler), new build sub-contracts (Impulse), advisory services (Trillian), ICT (T-Systems), and media (New Age). Suggested areas for further investigation are flagged, as well as key lines of questioning and possible recommendations.

The National Executive Committee  (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) adopted the roadmap to the National Policy Conference, which will be held at the end of June 2017. The National Policy Conference reviews ANC policy and makes recommendations on amendments or new policies to the National Conference. Discussion documents are available at the link below

This report suggests South Africa has experienced a silent coup that has removed the ANC from its place as the primary force for transformation in society. Four public moments define this new era: the Marikana Massacre on 16 August 2012; the landing of the Gupta plane at Waterkloof Air Base in April 2013; the attempted bribing of former Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas to sell the National Treasury to the shadow state in late 2015; and the Cabinet reshuffle in March 2017. Resistance and capture is what South African politics is about today. 

On 29–30 September 2016 Results for All, an initiative of Results for America, partnered with Nesta’s Alliance for Useful Evidence to host Evidence Works 2016: A Global Forum for Government. This invitation-only forum took place at the Royal Society in London, UK, with the support of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Evidence Works 2016 convened senior officials from government, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), and philanthropic organisations to engage in dialogue and exchange ideas about the policies and practices governments around the world are putting in place to promote the use of evidence and data in policymaking to improve outcomes for citizens and communities.

Part one in a series of articles to be published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology which reflects on developments of the past two decades and consider further steps that will help with the translation of reliable research results into the decision making process. There has been a rapid growth in various initiatives to promote EBHC in the African region. These include the conduct and reporting of primary and secondary research, research capacity development and supportive initiatives, access to information, and work with decision makers in getting research into clinical guidelines and health policies. Much, however, still needs to be done to improve the impact on health in the region. A multipronged approach consisting of regionally relevant well-conducted research addressing priority health problems, increased uptake of research in health care policy and practice, dedicated capacity development initiatives to support the conduct as well as use of research, facilitated by wider collaboration, and equitable partnerships will be important. Working together in mutually supporting partnerships is key to advancing both evidence-informed health care practices and better health.

This document introduces the process of developing an Evidence Map and aims to guide prospective users on the methodological requirements associated with the tool. It also hopes to introduce a wider audience to evidence mapping that is interested in developing and learning more about the tool. This guidance note was produced by a team of researchers and decision makers in the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), together with social scientists at the University of Johannesburg, following a nine-month pilot project of co-producing an evidence map on housing, human settlements and the built environment.