Thursday, February 09, 2006

Blinkered bureaucrats

Professor David Fergusson is in the news for reporting findings about the incidence of partner violence. Fergusson should be commended for his work, which has been extremely wide-ranging over the years. But what do we do with it?

Look at this report from a recent select committee hearing. Here is an excerpt;

"Recently we heard evidence from Professor David Fergusson, from the Christchurch School of Medicine, and Associate Professor Richie Poulton, from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, on our inquiry into factors contributing to poor outcomes for children........On the use of their studies by policy makers the two professors commented that there was a need for the rich data to be used effectively by policy makers. Too often they experience difficulty in getting policy makers to listen to their findings. It appeared to them that policy people in the ministries were politically astute gatekeepers, who accepted pieces of work from the studies if they fitted the current policy paradigm and discard the rest."

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