Daring Danny Dorling

18 Oct 2011 by Karl Hallam

A great profile of Professor Danny Dorling by Martin Wainwright in the Guardian today. 30 books by the age of 43 is very impressive! Whenever we have collaborated with Danny it has always made the project more interesting. Although not necessarily 'sexy' as the piece to day puts it.

The article is nice for him and hopefully will lead to more book sales, but what it made us think about was how he creates evidence, but that has not seemed to lead to policy. That is, evidence-based policy is still not the norm in social policy formulation in the UK. The Liam Fox story, whatever it does and does not tell us is that policy making is big business and that evidence is not the primary consideration at the decision-making level. This is a pity, when the accessible computing power around these days makes evidence so much easier to put together.

The article, for example, hints at the idea that ther evidence for the benefit of private education does not necessarily stack up. Why does the government not get the research done and then act based on the answer? There are lots of reasons why, but if we cast our mind back to 2008, there was lots of talk of 'not wasting a crisis'. Well this crisis (it never ended did it?) still offers the opportunity for big change. Maybe a greater move to evidence based policy would be the daring thing to do?




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