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

Latest publications

This publication places emphasis on (re)claiming local democratic space as a means of engaging/realising the significance of enabling inclusive democratic practices, which offer value and legitimacy to community realities. Otherwise, these spaces tend to become places of exclusion and narrowness. With the 2016 municipal elections looming in South Afirca, the theme of (re)claiming local democratic space is critical in cultivating a relationship between local citizenries and elected representatives. The papers in this publication share experiences of the manifestations of institutionalized and to a large extent passive local democratic spaces in South Africa, which have often lead to mistrust between different interest groups. Furthermore, the papers advocate for (re)claiming local democratic space through meaningful partnerships, participation, and active citizenry as well as the use of different modalities and technologies to encourage and support the voices of local communities. A recurring theme in the publication is the need for meaningful citizen-state engagement that is cultivated by the role of intermediaries in an attempt to achieve the true nature of democracy #socialinnovation


Jaap de Visser and Nico Steytler, both professors at the Dullah Omar Institute, have written a manual entitled: Electing Councillors – A Guide to Municipal Elections which explains the rules for local government elections. It discusses the rules for voter registration, party registration, ward candidates and party lists. It also explains what happens on voting day, how votes are counted and how results are determined.

The authors say its objective is to assist anyone who participates in the election or assists in making it happen. This includes election officials, candidates, parties, observers, journalists, civil society and anyone with an interest in the elections. The manual also addresses the rules for filling vacancies in between general elections.

According to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Des van Rooyen, the Manual provides insight into the electoral process and will ensure that the various role-players are suitably informed of the rules and regulations governing them. The Minister hopes in particular that citizens, the media, political parties and their candidates take note of these legal prescripts.


An open acces monograph which considers how social innovation should be researched. And what should be the relationship between research and action? This piece discusses what can be known about social innovation, how research agendas could evolve and how the study of social innovation fits into the broader picture of research on innovation.

The seminar is aimed at providing an understanding of South African protests within a global and international comparative context.This seminar may be attended via the HSRC video conferences in Pretoria, Cape Town , Port Elizabeth and KwaZulu-Natal. The speakers will be located in Pretoria.You may also join via Vidyo on your computer or mobile device via this link:

The value of the  seminar is that it brings together researchers, policymakers and knowledge producers to engage around current practice. Such engagements will potentially  inform policy strategies and mechanisms that may facilitate the promotion of the social sciences and humanities and innovation for inclusive development at national and organisational levels.

For related publications go the HSRC website here.

Follow us on twitter @policyprocesses @HSRCacza @SocialChangeSA #CommunityProtests.


This seminar will take place on 30 June 2016 and can be attended at the HSRC offices in Pretoria, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban. You may also join via Vidyo on your computer or mobile device via the link: and you can register now. Tweet questions and comments to @policyprocesses and @HSRCacza on the day.

The workshop is intended to reflect on community protests. Although these protests have been often associated with service delivery, research by Alexander et al. (2010) shows that these protests are not just about service delivery, but amounted to a rebellion of the poor. In order to gain further understanding of these protests and their causes, Prof P Alexander established a new research project, building on insights gained from an earlier study that appeared in the book, Class in Soweto (2013), which has recently been awarded the NIHSS prize for best edited book.

#CommunityProtests #ServiceDelivery. Follow @policyprocesses @HSRCacza on Twitter.


This discussion paper introduces and discusses a project, The Science of Using Science which reviewed literature on effective strategies to increase the use of research evidence. It provides over 30 examples and case studies of successful efforts to increase research uptake. It involved two phases, firstly a systematic review of systematic reviews and secondly, a scoping review of other social science interventions that might be relevant to the first study.

This working paper describes how the Government of South Africa engaged with evidence-based policy making through a case study of the process of conducting the 20-Year Review of South Africa 1994-2014. The Review was undertaken by the South African government to reflect on how the country has progressed since the dawn of democracy in 1994, the challenges it still faces and how these can be addressed. The Working Paper looks at the process of the Review to explore experiences that may be of interest for other middle income countries contexts on how evidence was acquired, analyzed, and used from within a policy space; what capabilities are required within government organizations to use evidence at individual, organizational and institutional levels; and the institutional context necessary to embed and support evidence practice and an evidence seeking culture in government departments.


INVITATION: On 4 March 2016 the Africa Evidence Network and PAN Children are hosting a roadshow at the Human Sciences Research Council  (HSRC) offices in Cape Town. We have invited researchers, policy makers, parliamentary representatives and civil society. The event centres around the value of networks and building capacity in the use of evidence in decision-making across government. Ample time has been allocated to discussion and joining the networks. Please RSVP (link sends e-mail) or (link sends e-mail). Note that the event can also be attended via videoconferencing facilities at the HSRC's Durban and Pretoria offices, with a webstreaming facility to be set up. Final programme to be circulated by 26 February 2016.

This research seminar focused on how science councils can balance multiple roles, to conduct research and innovation that contribute to the realisation of national developmental goals. The value of such a workshop is that it can bring together researchers, policymakers and knowledge producers to engage around current practice, to inform policy strategies and mechanisms that may facilitate the promotion of science, technology and innovation for inclusive development at national and organisational levels.

Three main objectives informed the structure of the programme, the presentations and the discussions:

  1. To provide new research evidence on the roles of science councils in the national system of innovation in terms of the goals of inclusive national development.
  2. To examine the nature of the institutional strategies, structures and mechanisms science councils use to promote linkages and interaction with firms, government, civil society and communities.
  3. To inform strategic policy on the role of science councils and innovation for inclusive development.

The programme and presentations can be downloaded above. The workshop report and other documentation will be circulated as soon as they are finalised. Please submit any relevant documentation to for upload onto the Policy Action Network website. Subscribe to PAN and join the discussion.

This guide is aimed at decision makers across various institutions in United Kingdom social policy and practice. It intends to foster intelligent demand for research evidence from a wider audience, whilst not being aimed at trained evaluators and researchers.