The Evidence Masterclass 2017: Using Research Evidence to Drive Success


9 May 2017


Eversheds Sutherland
Bridgewater Place
Water Lane
LS11 5DR



This event is hosted by

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This Masterclass is FREE to Solace Members

Public Sector Non-solace members can attend at a rate of £149+vat, which includes 3 months complimentary membership (for those who have not received this benefit previously)

Who is this for?

The event is aimed at Chief Executives and senior managers in Local Authorities. It is not intended for researchers or specialists in evidence-use. Registration is open until 20 April 2017. To register your place this event simply send an email to

To see the Terms and Conditions of Registration please click here

What is the Evidence Masterclass?

The Evidence Masterclass offers an interactive learning experience for senior officers in local authorities to demonstrate how evidence can help to improve the effectiveness and integrity of public services. You will discover how research can be easily sourced and effectively applied in the realistic context of managing a local authority. Guided by an expert facilitator, you will work with senior peers to discover how evidence can inform difficult decisions and how you can inspire your authority to become a knowledge-based organisation.

What the Masterclass is NOT:

This Masterclass is not about directly evaluating the impact of your own services, although this will be touched upon. Rather, its focus is on utilising and learning from existing research that is available from universities, independent research organisations, market researchers or evaluations of other programmes and practice. We will also stress how this can be done with limited financial costs.

After the masterclass, participants will be able to:

Describe the breadth of research available and identify possible sources of evidence for their work; Understand the factors that should be considered to assess research quality and trustworthiness; Explain the processes, benefits and limitations of systematic reviews and rapid evidence assessments; Assess and communicate research findings for a policy recommendation in a simulation based activity.


Evidence can help us understand the challenges local government is currently facing. It can also gauge the effectiveness of local services – including evidence of local needs. It can help us think about what interventions and courses of action might work, and what might fail, or even do harm.

Public accountability, in the context of wide-scale budget cuts and pressure to outsource services, means being able to show that we are making the most effective use of the funding available, for those who need it most. Only decent evidence will help us to demonstrate that we are making a difference. Evidence helps us to become ‘learning organisations’ that respond to the existing research on the best approaches to improving citizens’ lives.

However, using evidence is far from easy. Research findings can be inconclusive and confusing. One piece of research seems to contradict another. Academic research is often hidden behind publishing paywalls. Original research is expensive to commission. So how do you assess the quality of research, interpret findings and make decisions and changes to policy or practice based on evidence? Join our Evidence Masterclass and we will help you find answers to these questions.

About the approach:

The Masterclass draws on the evidence for what we know supports effective professional learning and behaviour change. The Masterclass puts you into the thick of real decision-making and the challenge of using evidence, and supports you to reflect, learn and develop your competency by problem-solving with your peers.

Feedback from the previous session:

Most useful for me was...

"Getting a greater understanding of research methodology and how it can assist my LA's decision-making"

"Focus on evidence being built into the culture of the organisation"

"I enjoyed the practical exercise - learn best that way"

What new insight have you gained?

"How to evaluate quality of research. Where to find sources of useful research. All really useful"


The Alliance for Useful Evidence champions the use of evidence in social policy and practice. They are an open access network of 3000+ individuals from across government, universities, charities, business and local authorities in the UK and internationally. They provide a focal point for advancing the evidence agenda, developing a collective voice, whilst aiding collaboration and knowledge sharing, through debate and discussion. They are a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Nesta. Membership is free, to sign up visit their website: