10. POLICY PILOTS

WHAT IS THE TOOL?

u   An important tool in policy development and delivery and the identification of what works

u   Recent innovation that allows for the phased introduction of major government policies or programs.

u   The policies can be tested, evaluated and adjusted wherever necessary, before being rolled out nationally

u   Various pilots like impact pilots, process pilots and phased implementation projects exist

 

WHEN SHOULD YOU USE IT?

u   ‘Full-scale introduction of new policies and delivery mechanisms should, wherever possible, be proceeded by closely monitored pilots’ (Cabinet office, 2003).

 

u   To complete pilots, lessons learnt before widespread implementation

 

u   The Cabinet Office Review of Pilots recommended that: Once embarked upon, a pilot must be allowed to run its course. Notwithstanding the familiar pressures of government timetables, the full benefits of a policy pilot will not be realized if the policy is rolled out before the results of the pilot have been absorbed and acted upon. Early results may give misleading picture (Cabinet Office, 2003: Recommendation 6).

 

HOW IT WORKS?

u   Key considerations as to how to use pilots in policymaking.

 

      The role of pilots

u   Pilots are an important first phase

u   Used to try innovations that might otherwise be too costly and risky to embark on

u   The scale and complexity of any experimental treatment should be proportionate to its likely utility.

 

      Pre-conditions

u   Pilot must be run to its full course

u   To be preceded by the systematic gathering of evidence

u   Purpose should be made explicit in advance so that its methods and timetable are framed accordingly

      Methods and Practices in Pilots

      There is no single best method of piloting a policy.

      Multiple methods of measurement and assessment, experimental, quasi-experimental and qualitative techniques should be considered t get a complete picture.

      Policies designed to achieve change in individual behavior or outcomes, randomized control trials offer the most conclusive test of their likely impact

      Policies designed to achieve change at an area, unit or service level, randomized area or service-based trials offer the most conclusive test of impact.

      The Use of Results

      Pilots which reveal policy flaws should be viewed as a success, not a failure

      Appropriate mechanism should be in place to adapt or abandon a policy or its delivery mechanism in light of a pilot’s findings

      Pilot reports should be made easily accessible to facilitate easy reference of past successes and failures.

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