‘Geek is good’ - US cities learn lessons from London
An initiative that was set up by the Mayor of London to help understand how best to improve the lives of the city’s children and young people has been praised in a major new American report published today on how cities in the United States can use evidence to inform social policy decisions.
The report, “Geek Cities: How Smarter Use of Data and Evidence can Improve Lives” from Washington DC think tank America Achieves, highlighted London, the only non-US city to feature, as an example of how to use evidence gathered from policies on the ground, to learn the lessons which help transform the lives of its citizens.
The report singled out the Greater London Authority’s Project Oracle for its success in understanding how best to deliver results for citizens through the use of evaluation and evidence. Project Oracle was borne out of Mayor Boris Johnson’s ‘Time for Action’ strategy to reduce serious youth violence in London. It helps charities and community organisations learn what is most effective in their work, and City Hall to identify the most effective projects that need their support. In less than a year of full operation, Project Oracle has engaged with 150 youth organisations to understand and examine the impact of their work. The aim: to boost positive outcomes for the city’s young people.
The report’s authors conducted in-depth research to identify the best cities and described London as a role model for cities in the United States because of the way it invests in developing its database of evidence to inform policy.
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Stephen Greenhalgh said:
“The Geek Cities report is welcome recognition of our efforts to improve the lives of young Londoners, giving the most vulnerable the chance to succeed in life. Project Oracle brings together youth organisations and academics to share knowledge so that the public funds can be directed to organisations who achieve real and positive change.
“I am absolutely delighted that London is seen to be leading the way in this field“
Michele Jolin, Head of Results for America, which commissioned the Geek Cities report, said:
“All too often, lawmakers make policy decisions based on gut instinct. Our research has shown that in America less than $1 out of every $100 is based on evidence.
“What really struck us about London, and Project Oracle in particular, is how ’geek’ is good – that blending rigor and data with a passion for results can have a major impact on big problems. This sort of thinking should be a central component of decisions on public spending so policies benefit the citizens who are ultimately paying for them. It’s a strong example of public bodies and private companies working together; bringing government, academia, and nonprofits to inform spending decisions.“
Stephen Bediako, Co-Director of Project Oracle, said:
“Project Oracle is helping London to tackle some of its most pressing social issues. Problems like gang violence, for example, are best tackled by targeted, comprehensive, multi-agency initiatives, which require in-depth analysis if they are to have their desired results.“
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by The Social Innovation Partnership .
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