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Trust, Evidence and Local Democracy; how Cambridgeshire County Council has bridged the gap

Cambridgeshire County Council needs the trust of its residents; it needs to be able to back up decisions it makes with expert evidence, and show it's open to criticism - and we've done that, in a way that no one else has. 

We've created a direct link between researchers and policy makers, taking evidence into policy changes for the Council.

We worked with CUSPE and CSaP and found volunteer researchers interested in tackling challenges facing the County Council; from elected Councillors we got a long list of challenges; resulting in three teams working on three challenges:

  1. “What are the next generation of models to transform organisations, and how could they benefit Cambridgeshire County Council?”
  2. “Why is Cambridgeshire’s educational achievement gap so bad, and what can be done about it?”
  3. “What actions would have most impact in reducing deprivation inequalities in Cambridgeshire?"

Policy changes came from this: the Council invited best practice from all schools; looked at outcome based models for service reconfiguration - validating the work the transformation team was doing; created a template for how schools could report on the use of pupil premium spending; informed the schools forum;   

Success in politics is trust.  One can vote the right way, do the right thing, support your constituents; but if they don't trust you, you won't get re-elected, you won't be able to support your constituents, do the right thing, vote the right way.

 

Ian Manning
Cambridgeshire County Council

If both politicians and civil servants can work with external researchers to improve policy outcomes then we can improve that trust.

About us

The Trust & Technology Initiative brings together and drives forward interdisciplinary research from Cambridge and beyond to explore the dynamics of trust and distrust in relation to internet technologies, society and power; to better inform trustworthy design and governance of next generation tech at the research and development stage; and to promote informed, critical, and engaging voices supporting individuals, communities and institutions in light of technology’s increasing pervasiveness in societies.

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