Friday, 31 August 2012

The strange case of the two Wootton Reports: what can we learn about the evidence-policy relationship?

an article by Ann Oakley (affiliation(s) not provided) published in Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice Volume 8 Number 3 (August 2012)


The contrasting careers of two government-sponsored commissions of inquiry in the late 1960s are the focus of this paper, which examines what can be learnt from them about the impact, or lack of impact, of such bodies on policy making.

The Wootton Report on cannabis, published in 1968, had its recommendations rejected by the government that had sponsored it.

The Wootton Report on alternatives to prison, published in 1970, resulted in speedy changes to the law, which had the effect of introducing the penalty of community service in Britain for the first time.

The paper looks at the short- and long-term impact of the two reports, and at factors that may have accounted for the different receptions they received from politicians and policy makers.

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