Friday, 10 May 2013

Pic n mix evidenced based policy

I was surprised to hear the Health Secretary say that plans to introduce plain cigarette packaging were not included in the Queen's speech as there is a lack of evidence that it impacts on reducing smoking. Logic suggests that the tobacco industry wouldn't design packs for purely aesthetic reasons and there appears to be evidence that cigarette packaging has an impact on buyer behaviour. But then we have a strong tobacco industry lobby and a mass of tax revenue from the purchase of cigarettes. Is tax revenue now more attractive than longer term health benefits and reduced NHS costs?

Equally there appears to be a complete absence of evidence that leaving the EU would have a positive impact on the UK economy, yet that doesn't stop it being a serious economic issue at the present.

But, more specifically, we have to ask, where is the evidence that the current UK austerity strategy will work, the anticipated procurement savings realistic and, what can only be described as seismic public sector, cuts will deliver the required benefits?

Have we reached pic n mix evidence based public policy? How can we avoid pic n mix evidence based   public procurement policy?  It's not that we only need a Plan B for the economy but we also need the evidence to justify the strategy and a demonstrable impact assessment of progress thus far.

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