mahesh patel unicef eapro bangkok 2008
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Mahesh Patel, UNICEF EAPRO, Bangkok, 2008. Policies and Evidence. What is Social Policy?. “Policy is the process by which governments translate their political vision into programs and actions to deliver “outcomes” – desired changes in the real world”

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what is social policy
What is Social Policy?

“Policy is the process by which governments translate their political vision into programs and actions to deliver “outcomes” – desired changes in the real world”

The term “policy” can have many meanings, ranging from high-level and broad directions statements established through the political process by government, down to specific administrative decisions that are taken by divisions within government departments.

Source: Victorian Auditor General’s Office, Australia


Kathmandu, April 2007

all the following examples are policy
All the following examples are “policy”

Major statements of direction or whole of government priority statements (e.g. Decentralization).

Wide-ranging and multiple recommendations in a cohesive strategy to address complex sets of social or economic problems (National Development Plan).

Actions, programs or legislation to address specific and defined problems, (Juvenile Justice Bill).

Review of programs or legislation and development-implementation of recommendations for change (Public Budget Review).

A direction on administrative or procedural matters, operating standards or business rules (Local Government audit requirements).

Source: Victorian Auditor General’s Office, Australia

Plus…Unwritten or internalized conventions – “The way we do things here”.


Kathmandu, April 2007

government macro policy
Government macro policy
  • AWHF
  • PRSPs
  • SWAps
  • Thailand “30 Baht” Scheme for health care
  • Viet Nam Health care fund for poor (under 6 free?)
  • Cambodia Health equity fund
  • China education – Two exemptions on allowance
  • Thailand bicycles for rural schoolchildren
  • LPDR education grants for girls in minority areas
small unicef policy pieces
Small UNICEF policy pieces
  • Universal salt iodization – learning attainment
  • Food supplementation – Vitamin A
  • Breast milk substitute marketing – diarrhoa deaths
  • Nutrition surveys – food policy
  • Child immunization policy – measles, polio
  • Vaccine independence initiative – 90% in 1990
  • Basic and essential and generic drugs – 50%, 50%
  • Baby Friendly Hospitals – micro policy
different kinds of evidence are they all valid
Different kinds of evidence...... Are they all valid?

Which is better and why?

1 Evidence in science

2 Evidence in criminal investigation

3 Evidence in law

4 Evidence in statistics

statistical and legal evidence
Statistical and Legal Evidence
  • Inferential statistics or statistical induction comprises the use of statistics to make inferences concerning some unknown aspect of a population.
  • The law of evidence governs the use of testimony (oral or written statements, FGDs) and exhibits (physical objects) or other documentary material (newspapers) in a judicial or administrative proceeding (e.g., a court of law, eg USI, breast milk substitutes).
quantitative and qualitative evidence
Quantitative proofs use statistics to make inferences about some unknown aspect of a population.





Qualitative proofs use testimony (interviews or documents) exhibits (objects, photographs) in an administrative or judicial proceeding (court).

Review of documents

Historical analysis, timeline

Life histories

Key informant interviews

Focus group interviews

Films, videos and photographs


Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence
some possibilities
Some possibilities...
  • Consider some “micro-level” policies
  • Consider extended time period, and historical timelines, for some issues (polio, measles) (Policies may take time to have effects
  • Consider wide range of types of evidence
  • Consider exception reporting on human rights violations
  • Consider policy and legislative changes as positive results, even when implementation and enforcement is lagging