Social policy innovation means developing new ideas, services and models to help addressing the challenges to our welfare systems for delivering better social and employment outcomes. It can help nurture the current fragile economic recovery with improved social and employment outcomes in the medium and long term. It involves new ways of organising systems and therefore invites input from public and private actors, including civil society. Closer partnerships within this broad spectrum of actors are critical to help reach the Europe 2020 targets.
In this context the role of policymakers is crucial in guiding the reform process, selecting the appropriate policy priorities and for an effective follow-up and increased sustainability of the results. In order to play this function, policymakers need tools that allow them to assess the investment returns of the chosen policies in terms of social outcomes (e.g. increase in inclusion and employment, reduction in cost of service at same quality level, contribution to the economy).
This Guide is meant as a companion to policymakers and social service providers wishing to implement social policy innovations and evaluate the impact of their interventions. It addresses three important and related questions:
1) How do you evaluate the impact of a social policy intervention?
2) How do you design an impact evaluation?
3) How do you assess and disseminate its results, on the basis of their reliability, transferability, and sustainability? And how do you use the results to create knowledge that can feed into fine-tuning ongoing reforms, inspiring new change and building-upon to create additional knowledge?