Leading academics defend the value of ‘expertise’, calling for better use of research by government


The third annual PMM Live! provided a platform last week for academics to call for better use of expertise in policy-making, while they discussed the ‘anti-expert’ rhetoric that has seeped into parts of UK government.

Hosted by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and its journal, Public Money and Management (PMM), PMM Live! 2016 included talks from Guardian Networks Editor David Walker, Emerita Professor of Accounting at Royal Holloway University Jane Broadbent, and Professor of Government at University of Manchester Colin R Talbot, and was chaired by Lord Bichard.

The event, which took place in a packed room in the House of Lords, picked up on PMM’s core mission of bringing government and academia together, having been prompted by growing concerns of a widening gap between academic research and policy makers. 
David Walker summarised how policy makers treat data and criticised how “the government neglects the knowledge it pays for.”

Colin Talbot, whose career has crossed the divide between local government and academia, discussed the different types of social science data that is being collected and said: “We need much wider discussion about how we generate knowledge for policy makers”.

Jane Broadbent deplored the “anti-expert” sentiment that has become prevalent in some parts of government. Professor Broadbent argued that there needs to be better interaction between academic researchers and practitioners and policy makers: “Politicians do not need to agree with academic views, but given they are based on research evidence, those views should at least be given serious consideration.”

In his summing up, Lord Bichard recognised the need to improve communications between well informed civil servants and ministers. And during the Q&A, the speakers and audience came up with a number of solutions that will be tested and aired in PMM in 2017. 


For media enquiries contact the CIPFA press office on T: 020 7543 5600 or E: corporate@cipfa.org.

Notes to editors


The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) is one of the leading professional accountancy bodies in the UK and the only one which specialises in the public services. It is responsible for the education and training of professional accountants and for their regulation through the setting and monitoring of professional standards. 
Uniquely among the professional accountancy bodies in the UK, CIPFA has responsibility for setting accounting standards for a significant part of the economy, namely local government. CIPFA’s members work (often at the most senior level) in the public service bodies, in the national audit agencies and major accountancy firms. They are respected throughout for their high technical and ethical standards and professional integrity. CIPFA also provides a range of high quality advisory, information and training and consultancy services to public service organisations. As such, CIPFA is the leading independent commentator on managing and accounting for public money.