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What is the Evidence and Insight Centre?

Sarah Cumbers

It’s been a busy first year for the Foundation’s new Evidence and Insight team, set up to support the strategic goal of using the best data, evidence and insight available to better understand the complex factors that affect safety. We’ve interpreted this in two ways – focusing on how the Foundation can better use data and evidence to support our work, and on the role of evidence-based practice across the areas of safety that the Foundation supports.

Our strategy sets out seven key challenges – safety of food, safety at sea, safety of digital systems, safety for a sustainable future, skills for safety, safety of physical infrastructure and public understanding of risk. Over the next few years we’ll take a deep dive into each of these areas to understand what the data and evidence landscape tells us about the priorities for research, innovation, education and partnerships in these areas. This work will drive our investments, and we will publish our analysis so others can also benefit from the insight gained.

Our first commission cuts across these challenges, looking at the global published evidence base for a link between psychological wellbeing and safety at work. And we’ve already kicked off work in the safety at sea challenge area, with a literature review and data analysis looking at incidents and accidents at sea. Building insight by looking across a body of published evidence will help us to understand where and why intervention is needed in different areas, and where we can make a difference.

There is a growing recognition that use of research evidence can lead to better outcomes. Initially developed to support decision-making in healthcare, the ‘what-works’ approach is now championed in the UK and internationally across a growing range of disparate sectors including social care, homelessness, policing and education. Evidence-based approaches are helping policy makers to understand what works, where and why it works, and for whom. Importantly the insight can also reveal what doesn’t work, and avoid repeated failure. So the big question for the Foundation is to what extent can these approaches improve safety outcomes.

We’re starting to explore the role of data and evidence in two of our challenge areas – safety at sea, and safety of food. We’re asking some very broad questions about how decisions are made in these sectors, and to what extent the products that support decision making are based on evidence. Once we understand this picture in detail we’ll be in a stronger position to determine how evidence-based approaches might make a difference in these sectors, and what we can learn from wider sectors to improve safety outcomes.

We know that in many areas of safety, data quality, availability and completeness is an issue, and that our efforts will need to focus on improving these elements to enable the synthesis of evidence of what works. Our public understanding of risk challenge needs a special mention here because the results of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation 2019 World Risk Poll, managed by the evidence and insight team, have just been launched. Unparalleled in scale, this global survey of 150,000 people in 142 countries reveals public attitudes to, and experiences of, risk and safety across the Foundation’s challenge areas.

The impact generated through the World Risk Poll will help to demonstrate why data is so important, and what is can help us achieve. Partnership working will be key to generating impact and we’re engaging with a range of stakeholders – including community-based risk innovators, policy makers, UN agencies and researchers – to influence action.

We’d love to hear from you if you’re inspired by our vision for use of data and evidence in safety – let’s build this together!

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Disclaimer: all blogs featured are the views of the author and not representative of Lloyd's Register Foundation.

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