This is our monthly policy briefing for April 2021. Each week we gather all the news, commentary and events from across the sector, then tie it all together each month. If you would like to get this in your inbox each week you can sign up to Tiny Letter.
Policy lessons from the pandemic
While the challenges of the pandemic are by no means over, the vaccine rollout is having a promising impact. As policymakers begin to look beyond the immediate health crisis, their attentions are turning to socioeconomic recovery, and how the lessons learned over the last year might inform future action. To that end, the Global Partnership for Results-Based Approaches produced a report exploring whether and how outcomes-based financing (OBF) might contribute to recovery efforts around the world. It highlights the range of sectors in which OBF may be most effective and offers suggestions for adapting the approach to better support rebuilding and long-term resilience.
The lessons of the pandemic also extend beyond contracting for public services. Against a backdrop of growing anti-science rhetoric, and both successes and challenges for evidence-based policymaking throughout the response to the pandemic, Andreea Anastasiu considers what it will take to make evidence great (again), sharing three ingredients that can support more effective use of evidence in policy and practice. One of these, embracing a broader understanding of evidence beyond RCTs, might include more attentive listening to service users and citizens more broadly. But, as this article from Apolitical argues, government will have to pivot their approach to citizen engagement in order to effectively gather meaningful feedback and rebuild trust. Covid-19 has exacerbated existing challenges, and created new ones, but it has also provided a range of opportunities for governments to reconsider how they approach their central challenges.
Rebuilding beyond government
While there are a range of lessons for the public sector to take forward form the pandemic, efforts to ‘build back better’ will require cross-sector efforts. Traditionally, the third sector has played a key role in addressing social challenges, and this article in SSIR calls for a much broader view on its future role. It highlights three emerging perspectives on the social economy: as part of an ecosystem to be viewed through systems thinking, as an agent of change to affect both the public and private sectors, and as a partner of policy makers and the for-profit sector through joint initiatives and tools like social impact bonds to improve outcomes.
While the third sector’s role in meeting social challenges is well-established, there have been growing calls for the private sector to play its part too. Responding to demands for more responsible business practices, Ian Taylor has written an introduction to responsible business. The report outlines what responsible business actually is and its history, before investigating the potential for a new epoch of social responsibility in the private sector.