Jane Kennedy: Case study

at London Borough of Newham

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Research Business Manager, Strategic Commissioning and Partnership Development, London Borough of Newham

Conversations and connections established during my time as a Policy Fellow at CSaP helped me to improve council evaluations and led to my participation in the CSaP Policy Challenge report on Ageing.

My role as Head of Research at a local authority already involves working closely with academia but my Fellowship helped develop a network within the University of Cambridge that complemented Newham Council’s existing relationships with other higher education institutions.

Conversations at the start of my Fellowship convinced me of the value of participating in the CSaP policy challenge on Ageing, for which I contributed a case study on adult social care costs. I then used the case study as the basis of an exercise for a group of students on the Cambridge Masters in Public Policy course. The students worked on the issue of how to generate cost savings in adult social care and I was able to feed back to them on their findings, proposals and presentations.

Another output of my Fellowship emerged from a meeting with Emeritus Professor Alan Hughes of Cambridge Judge Business School. Professor Hughes explained the importance of having a Theory of Change (identifying preconditions necessary to achieve long term goals) to underpin evaluations. The net result of this activity was that every evaluation carried out within Newham Borough Council must now have a Theory of Change as its basis, impacting positively on the development of professional practice, and on the quality and usability of data emerging from evaluations.

These activities are selected examples from the range of outcomes that have arisen during my two-year Fellowship. Others include continued engagement on public health, invitations to speak at conferences and attend events in central government departments, as well as involvement in grant funding bids. Overall, the Fellowship can help you open up to new ideas, and forms the basis to think about things differently.