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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The workshop held on 15 November 2013 aimed to draw together researchers in universities and science councils with policy makers in the higher education and innovation spaces. The purpose was to debate the role of knowledge producers in different types of universities and science councils in promoting innovation with marginalised communities. Researchers presented their new work, and all participants debated the policy implications of the emerging evidence. Presentations from the workshop and a policy note can be downloaded above. The full report is available on request by contacting the Policy Action Network.

The workshop held on 12 November 2013 aimed to: explore the meanings of the concept of food security and how these are expressed in policies and programmatic interventions of government departments and civil society groups; assess the usefulness of existing indicators to monitor food security- including the quality of available data and information sources; and investigate the range of low-cost and high-frequency approaches available to measure and monitor household food security in South Africa. The workshop discussions took place under three themes: measuring food security in the context of South Africa’s  double burden of hunger and malnutrition, towards developing a comprehensive/composite indicator for food security in South Africa, and, the diversity of household food access in South Africa: comparing tools. Presentations are attached above and the full report can be accessed by contacting the Policy Action Network

In the context of its nationwide implementation, the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) is charged with creating work opportunities in public social programmes (e.g. community-based health and social welfare care and early childhood development). It is recognised that the social sector contributes to the EPWP by employing people, through NGOs and CBOs, to work on home-based care and early childhood development programmes amongst many other programmes. This DST Government Cluster Policy Workshop held on 31 October 2013 provided a platform to address and critique the subject of the EPWP contribution to national development. Presentations and a policy note can be downloaded above. A full report is available on request by contacting the Policy Action Network

This Department of Science and Technology Government Cluster Policy Workshop held on 11 September 2013 spoke to Outcome 7 in government’s programme of action, namely the creation of vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities. Specifically Output 4 – improved employment and skills development opportunities (indicator: number of youth participating in the National Rural Youth Service Corps [NARYSEC]).  Participants in this workshop reflected on the successes of and challenges faced in applying the approach and methods used in the NARYSEC programme, drew upon comparable programme experiences, and examined pertinent research evidence. It is expected that the knowledge shared and the recommendations generated in the workshop will inform other national and provincial youth development programmes. Presentations are attached and a policy note from the workshop can be downloaded above. A full report is available from the Policy Action Network on request.

This workshop presented key findings from the 2012 national HIV population-based household survey (SABSSM4) and discussed their implications for both HIV/AIDS policy and programming in the country. The workshop brought together HIV researchers from within the HSRC and from other research organisations, including universities and policy makers drawn from the national Departments of Health, Social Development, Basic Education, Higher Education and Training, and Public Service and Administration. It will also include experts from SANAC Secretariat and its various sectors, UN agencies such as UNAIDS, and PEPFAR and other US agencies such as CDC.

The discussion focused on the current state of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa, based on the findings of the 2012 population-based household survey (SABSSM4 that were released on 1 April 2014). The main aim was to discuss the implications of the findings on the current HIV/AIDS policies and programmes and efforts to implement them. In addition, it sought to identify gaps in information which could be addressed in next national HIV population-based household survey (SABSSM5) planned for 2015-2016.

Presentations are attached and further reports will be shared when they are made available. The final report and datasets from the survey can be downloaded here. A research brief from the workshop can also be downloaded above.

Link: Publication

Twenty years after the end of apartheid South Africa is a different place. It has a well institutionalized democracy. Significant gains have been made in social equity and in reducing extreme poverty. Yet poverty, unemployment and inequality remain South Africa’s most pressing problems. Social change and enhanced access to rights have not translated into comparable economic shifts – unemployment has risen and inequality remains extreme.The paper starts with a brief review of the literature to explore the main trajectories through which inequality impacts on economic development and growth. This includes consideration of the crucial roles of public policy and institutions, as well as the roles of asset inequality, income inequality, and inequality in access to opportunities.The paper then attempts to grapple with the multi-dimensional nature of inequality in South Africa and how social and economic inequality impact on the scope for economic development.


Link: Publication

Evidence-based research is widely recognized as an essential input in effective economic policymaking. However, for the results of their research to influence policy, the research community must overcome a variety of challenges, including the absence of adequate and relevant data, differences of research results on the same policy issue, and deficiencies in effectively communicating policy conclusions to the policymakers. This paper stresses the need for increased investment in the generation of adequate and relevant data, and the responsibility of the researchers to seek to reach a consensus or narrow the range of and explain the reasons for their differences, thus enabling the policymakers to exercise their judgment.

Link: Publication

In 2010 government established the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, recently renamed the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. Many monitoring systems have been established, and this is the first annual report on the National Evaluation System.

This Human and Social Dynamics (HSD) Research Seminar was hosted by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in collaboration with the Human Sciences Research Council, the Southern African Social Policy Research Institute (SASPRI), the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) Rhodes University and the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development.

SAIMD 2011 is a ward-level measure of multiple deprivation. It comprises a weighted aggregate of four domains or dimensions of deprivation: material deprivation, employment deprivation, education deprivation and living environment deprivation, and was developed to facilitate sub-municipal analysis of multiple deprivation and its component domains (Noble et al., 2013). The SAIMD 2011 is the latest in a series of indices of multiple deprivation for South and southern Africa that have been developed using census data to profile multiple deprivation at sub- municipal level. The original South African study for 2001 was at ward level (e.g. Noble et al., 2006 and 2010) and was undertaken in collaboration with HSRC. It was followed by a series of further refinements to develop a sub-ward or ‘datazone’ level index for 2001 (e.g.  Noble and Wright, 2013), a series of child focused indices (e.g. Barnes et al., 2009), as well as updates to 2007 at municipal and datazone levels. 

Full reports and additional documentation will be circulated when they are made available.


The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Basic Education, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), hosted a Policy Dialogue on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Education in South Africa. In line with global trends South Africa has grown increasingly reliant on information and communication technologies (ICTs) to provide access to information and services. Over the last decade South Africa has witnessed increased investments in this sector by both public and private investors, reaching to 70th place out of 144 countries in Africa on the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report rankings of 2013. These investments have led to increased use of ICT services across all sectors of the economy, prompting government to intervene with policy instruments to govern and guide the further penetration of ICTs in the country. The recently approved Broadband Policy reflects this commitment to creating an enabling environment, not only for the rollout of broadband infrastructure but also for associated content, applications and services as well.

Attached are presentations from the Policy Dialogue, and reports will be circulated once they have been made available