The Politics of Monitoring: Information, Indicators and Targets in Climate Change, Defence and Immigration Policy

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Social and Political Science

Abstract

Monitoring is central to the policy process: policy makers need to gather information in order to chart the nature and scale of policy problems, and to assess the impact of their policies. Since the 1980s, the UK has seen a huge expansion of quantitative, performance-based measures across policy areas – a trend which has more recently been criticized by the 2010 government. So what explains the appeal of targets and indicators since the 1980s, and how have they been implemented across sectors? How has the emphasis on delivery and the ‘target culture’ affected policy outcomes and political debate? And how feasible is it to roll back performance-based monitoring practices once in place?



The Politics of Monitoring addresses these questions through analysing monitoring in three policy areas - climate change, immigration control, and defence procurement – over a 20 year period (1994-2014). The research will be based on interviews with around 90 officials and professionals engaged in monitoring in the three sectors; and analysis of key policy documents, press releases, media coverage and parliamentary debate on monitoring practices and their effects.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit?

We expect the principal beneficiaries of the project to be politicians, civil servants, policy advisors, and other members of the policy community concerned about effective policy monitoring (think tanks, NGOs, researchers and private sector personnel with a stake in policy). While the research focuses on the cases of climate change, immigration control and defence procurement in the UK, its findings should have more general relevance across policy sectors, as well as for those in other national and devolved administrations.

In addition, our analysis of the processes involved in monitoring policy problems and in setting targets, and the possible distortions arising from such practices, may benefit other types of organisation outside of government. We will be alert to findings that might produce useful parallels with monitoring in, e.g., international organisations, NGOs or large firms.

How will they benefit?

Monitoring of perfomance has become a central activity of the UK government in recent decades, and despite the coalition government's criticism of the 'target culture', this trend seems unlikely to be reversed. There remain strong pressures to track problems and legitimise policies through measuring key indicators such as carbon emissions, immigration numbers, or defence procurement costs. Moreover, such pressures are likely to increase across all sectors of policy, as governments are expected to measure and justify their performance in an age of economic austerity. Despite the importance of monitoring, however, the debate on performance and targets is characterised by often simplistic and politicised rhetoric, and lacks rigorous underpinning research. Political and media discussion often implies that the choice is between having multiple targets, or no targets at all. More informed policy specialists are keen to discuss the merits of different types of targets, e.g. more ambitious stretch targets v. easily met targets; or process v. output targets. But there is little methodical or theoretically guided evidence to support these debates. We hope that our research can help meet this need.

More specifically, we expect policymakers and stakeholders to benefit in two main ways.

1. First, the research will provide detailed accounts of how monitoring practices have developed over the last 20 years in the areas of climate change, immigration control and defence procurement. The case studies will provide the first detailed analysis of how monitoring has developed in these areas, and how the monitoring processes that were implemented affected performance and led to changes in organisational practices. The research will lead to greater understanding of how monitoring was implemented, what kinds of targets were set, to what degree these targets were met, whether performance in general was seen to have improved, and whether there were unintended consequences (e.g. from working to target).

2. Second, these detailed case studies will be analysed comparatively to provide more generalisable understanding of the ways in which the use of monitoring can be made more effective. A taxonomy of the different types of monitoring will be developed, and we will seek to identify and understand any correlations between different monitoring approaches and efficacy. All those involved in governance activities involving monitoring - across policy sectors, and within the UK and beyond - could potentially benefit from this research.

We will achieve these impacts through a series of seminars organised with the Institute for Public Policy Research; policy briefings circulated to a wide database of user contacts; presentations at talks and conferences; and our website and blogposts. We also aim to bring our findings to a wider international policy audience through providing other academics with the analytical and theoretical tools to carry out similar research in cognate policy areas and for other national cases.
 
Description 1. Performance targets can be adopted to perform a dual function: signaling political commitment to policy goals, and steering public administration. However, the attempt to combine both functions in one target can produce various tensions and risks. Notably, targets developed as a tool of political communication can codify simplistic narratives about policy that distort organizational activity; and they can create political risks through setting unfeasible policy objectives. On the other hand, targets designed to steer organizational performance will tend to focus on more technical aspects of delivery, and lack political traction. This suggests the need to avoid targets that combine the two functions.

2. Targets may be implemented in very different ways across policy sectors. We develop a model of policy implementation based on Kingdon's Multiple Streams Approach, which theorises implementation of policy 'ideas' as shaped by two components: political commitment and fit with organizational problem constructions. Different combinations of these features yield four different modes of implementation: effective implementation, bottom-up implementation, decoupling, and non-implementation. The model is developed and refined through applying it to analyse the implementation of targets on asylum, defence and climate change.

3. Targets can have substantial effects on how issues are framed in political and policy debates, through what we term a 'classification effect' and a 'measurement effect'. These effects imply that even where targets are controversial and/or unsuccessful, they nonetheless influence expectations about how policy issues should be framed, and about how political leaders should/can be held to account.

4. Targets can be understood as a mechanism of accountability, self-imposed by governments to enhance public confidence. However, media coverage of targets suggests that they have very limited traction in creating public trust, with media outlets relying on more impressionistic and symbolic cues to gauge the 'authenticity' and 'integrity' of political leaders.
Exploitation Route Our findings have potential ramifications for the following audiences:
1. Politicians and officials in public administration involved in setting and implementing targets. We suggest a number of risks and challenges in designing targets. Notably, (a) the risks of trying to use targets for dual purposes of steering public administration and signaling commitment to the public; (b) the risks of adopting ambitious targets that cannot be delivered, and the effects on public confidence in government; (c) the limits of even successful targets in eliciting public trust; (d) the potential damage to organizations of introducing overly intrusive and directive targets that do not resonate with organizational problem constructions.

2. Politicians, select committees and other bodies scrutinising government performance. Our findings suggest that even controversial targets that are contested by opposition politicians can exert an allure, creating incentives to deploy them to expose government transgressions. This can serve to normalise even controversial targets, in turn (a) distorting and simplifying the way we frame policy problems, and (b) making it difficult for even opponents of targets to invoke vaguer, less precise and qualitative formulations.

3. Public awareness of the purposes and effects of targets. Targets are deployed in part to signal commitment and resolve to the public, thus addressing problems of declining political trust. They therefore represent a form of self-imposed political accountability. However, publics can be sceptical about these accountability mechanisms. It is important to understand the sources of public lack of confidence and scepticism about targets, as well as the bases on which publics bestow political trust. Our findings about the role of more impressionistic and symbolic cues in grounding trust could help inform public debates about the personalisation of politics, and the role of knowledge and information in political debate and public trust.

4. Our findings on the role of targets in the immigration debate have already had impact on policy-makers and politicians (see Narrative Impact section). The narrowing and distorting impact of targets demonstrate the need for a more wide-ranging and open debate on the costs and benefits of immigration, and a more nuanced formulation of immigration policy goals.
Sectors Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy
URL http://www.skape.ed.ac.uk/research/projects/politics_of_monitoring/publications
 
Description Our findings on the effects of the net migration target on political debate have been directly cited by the SNP and used to underpin calls for a cross-party commission. Specifically, the SNP spokesperson for immigration, MP Stuart McDonald, referred to our work in a House of Commons debate on 4th July 2016. Based on our project findings, he proposed setting a cross-party commission to foster a more nuanced and open debate on immigration, that avoids the simplistic and negative framing invoked by the net migration target. Mr. McDonald's intervention was informed by attending two events organised by the project team. First, an IPPR London round-table on the net migration target, in which he participated. Second, a public event at the University of Edinburgh on the net migration target, at which he was an invited speaker. He had also read a policy brief and an article in the Herald produced by the PI, which elaborated on these findings.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services
 
Description Expert peer review of Scottish Government report
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description UK debate on immigration
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
 
Title Quantitative data for Politics of Monitoring project 
Description Between August and December 2014, quantitative data was collected on the following for the period 1994-2014: • Public opinion on policy issue salience for immigration/asylum, climate change, and defence (source: Ipsos MORI); • Media coverage of these three policy issues in selected outlets, including coverage of targets (source: Lexis Nexis); • House of Commons debates on the three issues, including discussion of targets (source: parliament.uk via google). The data has been uploaded to the data archive. The following numbers correspond to titling of files: 1. Commentary on data collection 2. Public opinion data overview 3. Public opinion - line charts 4. Media coverage data 5. Media coverage - line charts 6. Media coverage data: target as proportion of coverage 7. House of Commons Debates: Immigration & Climate 8. House of Commons Debates - line charts File formats: csv and rtf. Specific dates for data collection are included in file titles. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The data has helped us with our research of the impacts of targets on policy-making and public debate. It has provided: (a) contextual data to help understand how political salience changed over time, and how this might have affected the setting and implementation of targets (b) data on how targets affected political debate, guaged through parliamentary debate and media coverage. A selection of the quantitative data from media coverage and parliamentary debates is now being qualitatively analysed. 
 
Description Consultancy with Scottish Government 
Organisation Scottish Government
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Boswell was commissioned to comment on a Scottish Government report on the impacts of immigration in Scotland. The request was a direct result of contact made through dissemination events on the ESRC project.
Collaborator Contribution Scottish Government analytical services commissioned this consultancy, to be carried out by Boswell.
Impact We will organise a follow-up meeting to discuss immigration policy in Scotland.
Start Year 2016
 
Description A series of 3 blogposts on the use of targets in public administration 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The PI launched a new blog in September 2013, and between then and March 2014 posted 3 blogs drawing on insights and preliminary findings from the project. The blogs have received over 2,000 views. Blog posts on the use of targets in UK policy, especially immigration policy.

Some of the posts have been re-posted on LSE Impact blog, and an Australian public administration blog-site. I have received more media enquiries on these topics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.christinaboswell.wordpress.com
 
Description Article in the Herald on immigration, 17th June 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Op Ed article for the Herald on the EU referendum debate, drawing on ESRC findings about the constraints to meeting immigration targets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.heraldscotland.com/News/14562890.Focus_on_EU_membership_as_key_to_resolving_immigration_i...
 
Description BBC Scotland Radio interview, 20th June 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview on Good Morning Scotland, exploring how immigration was being debated in the EU referendum debate, including the role of the net migration target in framing the debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description BBC Scotland Radio interview, 21st September 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview on Good Morning Scotland (8.10 a.m.) to discuss the UN and US summits on the refugee crisis. I drew on ESRC project findings about the role of the net migration target in framing UK debates on restriction.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Blog for LSE Politics and Policy on the net migration target 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The blog drew on our ESRC research, exploring how the net migration target had shifted public debate on immigration in the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/net-migration-target-have-changed-debate-immigration/
 
Description Blog for PSA (Political Insight) on targets and quantification 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Too early to assess.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.psa.ac.uk/insight-plus/blog/our-sterile-quantitative-debate-immigration-needs-be-humanis...
 
Description Briefing to Scottish Labour MSPs, 25 October 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Briefing to leader of Scottish Labour and MSP colleagues about immigration and Brexit
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Co-Is present paper at IPA conference, Lille, July 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Co-Is Yearley and Rodrigues presented a paper on "Monitoring, numbers and empirical governance: Lessons from climate and migration monitoring in the UK", at a panel at the Interpretive Policy Analysis annual conference in Lille.

Several participants expressed interest in the project, and the Co-Is have shared more information on it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://ipa2015.sciencesconf.org/resource/page/id/74
 
Description Discover Society blog, May 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Boswell and Rodrigues were invited to write a Policy Briefing for Discover Society, based on our article in Policy and Politics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://discoversociety.org/2016/05/03/policy-briefing-the-challenges-of-implementing-targets-in-uk-g...
 
Description Established new ECPR Research Network on Knowledge and Governance 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact In March 2015 the PI and collaborators at Edinburgh and Geneva launched a new network within the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) on Knowledge and Governance. The initiative was directly related to the PI's engagement in the ESRC Politics of Monitoring project, which has (a) strengthened her knowledge of this field and (b) led to collaboration with the Graduate Institute Geneva, which is co-convening the network. The network already has 95 members from across the world, and is continually expanding. It will be formally inaugurated at the annual conference in Montreal, August 2015.

We expect the network to provide a forum for exchanging information, supporting earlier career researchers and developing collaborations on this area, across the world. We will also be organising an annual summer school on knowledge and governance, starting in Summer 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://ecpr.eu/StandingGroups/StandingGroupHome.aspx?ID=55
 
Description Evidence to Scottish Parliament Committe on European and External Relations 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact I gave evidence to the EERC of the Scottish Parliament, in relation to the UK government's EU negotiations on UK membership of the EU, and the impact on immigration. In the evidence session, I mentioned findings from my ESRC research about the impact of the net migration target on UK policy-making and political discourse on immigration.

My evidence was covered in Scottish media - the Scotsman, and the National (which featured my claims about the symbolic nature of the negotiations as the main item of news in their articles).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8MqtKZLPH0
 
Description Interview for STV, Scotland Tonight programme, 25 February 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I was interviewed on live TV (Scotland Tonight, Scottish TV), on the topic of the new statistics on net migration to the UK. This involved discussing the UK government's failure to reach its net migration target, a central topic of the ESRC project on the Politics of Monitoring.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://player.stv.tv/summary/scotland-tonight/
 
Description Interview on BBC Radio Good Morning Scotland programme 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact On 27th November BBC Radio Scotland did a feature on the release of new ONS figures on net migration. I was interviewed on Good Morning Scotland to comment on the implications of the figures for the UK government's net migration target.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Invited lecture, University of Bielefeld, 8th June 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Talk to Bielefeld University, Department of Sociology, presenting the book emanating from the ESRC project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Invited talk, Sorbonne University, Paris, 18 Jan 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Gave a talk on the PoM project, specifically setting out the main argument of my forthcoming book.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Invited talk, University of Duisberg, 6th September 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Invited talk at a seminar, to present the book emanating from the ESRC project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Keynote lecture at St Andrews on targets and the refugee crisis 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Gave a talk on the refugee crisis, drawing on ESRC research on the effects of targets on the framing of policy problems. There was a lively discussion afterwards, and I discussed the issues further with several UG and PG students. St Andrews Foreign Affairs Society since invited me to participate in another event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Keynote talk at Cambridge University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The PI gave a talk on the different uses of information and indicators in policy-making. This was a keynote talk to a Graduate Conference at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge. The talk generated around an 40 minutes of animated discussion. After the event I had the opportunity to discuss and give feedback and advice on a number of PhD projects in this area.

I will be keeping in touch with two of the graduate students working in my area, to provide further advice.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Keynote talk, Our Dynamic Earth, 20th September 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk at a major event on Scotland, the UK and Brexit, which was attended by several hundred participants (including MSPs, journalists and policymakers), as well as live streamed. My talk was tweeted by Guardian, Financial Times and BBC journalists.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Lecture to Student Society on Targets and the Refugee Crisis 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact I gave a talk on the role of targets and performance indicators in UK/European refugee and asylum policy. Students expressed a keen interest in the topic, and we had a lively and lengthy discussion after the event.

I was requested to provide a blog based on the talk to the European Futures blogsite.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description New, more extensive project website set up, as part of a new website for SKAPE (Centre for Science, Knowledge and Policy) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The new project webpages offer a more professional presentation of our project and its outputs, which we have shared with academic and non-academic users. The website also contains a new blog-site, where we have been blogging about the project.

More interest and enquiries about the team's work from academic, policy and media audiences.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.skape.ed.ac.uk/research/projects/politics_of_monitoring
 
Description Op ed article in the Herald 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The op ed summarised some findings from our ESRC on the effects of the net migration target on public debate on immigration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/14147345.Time_for_a_frank_debate_on_opportunities_and_constrai...
 
Description Oral evidence to House of Lords EU committee, 1 Feb 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Gave evidence on immigration policy post-Brexit, drawing i.a. on insights from PoM project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Oral evidence to Scottish Parliament committee, Dec 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Oral evidence to EEA Committee (Scottish Parliament) on immigration policy after Brexit, including drawing on PoM findings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description PI delivery of Omar Azfar Lecture on Social Justice, Oxford University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The PI was invited to give the inaugural Omar Azfar lecture on Social Justice at Balliol College, Oxford University. The talk was given to students, staff and members of Omar Azfar's family, and was also filmed and is available on podcast. The talk was followed by 45 minutes of questions, mainly from undergraduate students at Oxford, who were encouraged to critically explore the role of quantification on how we deliberate on questions of social justice.

The talk led to establishing fruitful links with Balliol College, including political theorists and historians.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnI1np4dkvs
 
Description PI invited talk to present project findings, SOAS London, Feb 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The PI presented some findings form the asylum case study. There was a lively debate on how quantitative targets might affect political debate on immigration and asylum.

Several participants joined for a drink to discuss their research, and the PI was able to give feedback on projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description PI invited talk, University of Sheffield, March 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact PI gave a talk on the effect of quantified targets on political debate on asylum, presenting findings from the ESRC project. There was a stimulating discussion afterwards, with participants sharing insights from their own research on public policy and public opinion.

Participants continued the discussion over dinner afterwards. Since the event, the PI has been in contact with an ESRC FRL fellow present at the talk, who is working on asylum policy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.shef.ac.uk/politics/research/groups/participation
 
Description Paper presentation at ECPR Glasgow, Sep 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The talk generated discussion on the uses of targets.

The panel was part of a section co-organised by me and two other colleagues on the relationship between knowledge and governance. Given the level of interest in the initiative, we are repeating the section again this year, and have set up an informal network of academics working on this area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.ecpr.eu/Filestore/PaperProposal/9e8ee461-3dad-46ce-85a2-331a1f4266a5.pdf
 
Description Paper presentation at ECPR Montreal, August 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation paper presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The talk sparked a lively debate on the use of targets and new public management instruments.

I made important new contacts, including with scholars from Uppsala, Copenhagen and LSE.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://ecpr.eu/Filestore/PaperProposal/63565996-de2f-4ff9-9f1f-f6bf2efe9ae8.pdf
 
Description Paper presentation at EIASM annual conference, Edinburgh, Sep 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The paper sparked a lively discussion. It also led to me establishing a number of research contacts in the public management field, who are working on related topics.

Continued contact with scholars from public management.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Paper presentation at PSA Conference, Manchester, April 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The talk generated a lively discussion, as well as subsequent more intensive discussion of the paper with other academics at the conference.

After the talk, I established contact with 2 colleagues working in similar areas whom I had not been in contact with before. We continue to discuss and share work on this area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.psa.ac.uk/sites/default/files/conference/papers/2014/Boswell%20PSA%202014%20paper.pdf
 
Description Project blog on defence targets, August 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Blog post on our SKAPE website on 'gaming' on defence procurement targets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://blogs.sps.ed.ac.uk/skape/2016/08/04/target-setting-accountability-and-defence-procurement/
 
Description Project event with RUSI, London, 13th May 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The project team organized a 2-hour seminar hosted by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in Whitehall, at which we presented findings from the ESRC project on defence procurement targets, and stimulated debate among policy-makers. Participants included a current and former chair of the defence select committee, senior officials from the MoD, special advisors and MPs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Round-table on targets in immigration policy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact The PI presented findings from the project; this was followed by comments from former Home Secretary Jackie Smith and Conservative MP Tim Loughton. The event was moderated by Nick Pearce, Director of the Institute for Public Policy Resaerch, London. The event sparked a lively and informative discussion on the rationale for, and effect of, the net migration target.

IPPR solicited feedback from participants, who noted that it was a very useful and informative event, and that it influenced their thinking about the issue. Please contact PI for more specific information.

The project team is now planning a follow-up meeting - this time a public event - on the effects of the net migration target for Scotland.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Roundtable on the Net Migration Target, Edinburgh 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact As part of the ESRC project, I organised a round-table to discuss the net migration target and its implications for the UK and Scotland. The roundtable included the SNP spokesperson for immigration (MP Stuart McDonald), the head of IPPR Scotland, and a representative from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. Participants in the discussion included government officials (including the Czech Consul in Edinburgh). As part of the discussion, Stuart McDonald said he supported our suggestion of establishing a Scottish cross-party commission on immigration. In addition, IPPR expressed a strong interest in exploring future areas for collaboration, including options for more devolved Scottish immigration policy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.sps.ed.ac.uk/skape/research/meetings/2015_2016/beyond_the_net_migration_target
 
Description SKAPE Away Day on Quantification and Public Life, July 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In July 2015 the PI and Co-I Yearley organised a SKAPE Away Day to stimulate debate and reflection on the impact of quantitative performance measurement on public life. The ideas for the discussion emanated from our ESRC project on the Politics of Monitoring, and the PI presented new ideas on respecifying performance measurement as an attempt to produce political trust.

The goal of the away day was both to stimulate thinking and research, and to prepare a possible larger grant application on quantification and public life.

As a follow-up to the away day, using SKAPE-Net money we commissioned a literature review on quantification and public life. We are planning to build on the review and discussion to develop a funding proposal on quantitative performance measurement and how it impacts public policy, political and ethical deliberation, and international governance. This builds directly on research from the ESRC Politics of Monitoring project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description SKAPE launch workshop, October 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In June 2014, the PI and Co-I Steve Yearley launched a new centre on Science, Knowledge and Policy (SKAPE). The centre was made possible by the ESRC Politics of Monitoring grant, which established a strong collabroation betwen Politics and Science/Technnology Studies. The centre now has 30+ members from across the School of Social and Political Science, Business, Law, and Population Health. Boswell and Yearley bid for university seedcorn funding to establish an international research network to build on the centre's activities. We were awarded £40K funding, to organise workshops and events, support grant applications and 4* publications. The grant - called SKAPE-Net - also funded collaboration betwen 7 leading international institutions working on knowledge and policy, including Yale, Harvard, Graduate Institute Geneva, ARENA Oslo, Nijmegen, and Technical University Berlin.

In October 2014 we organised a launch workshop for SKAPE-Net, which discussed two main research strands for further collaboration. One of these was Monitoring, which builds on research conducted in the ESRC Politics of Monitoring project. At the workshop, we presented some initial findings from our research, and discussed ways in which we might bring forward collaboration on the politics of monitoring.

The workshop was also the occasion of a keynote talk by Prof Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard).

The workshop produced a useful exchange of ideas on monitoring techniques and their effects. It led to the decision to organise a follow-up workshop on monitoring and the production of ignorance in Geneva, May 2015 (see separate entry on this).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description TV interview, Scotland Tonight, 13th June 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview on Scottish ITV, Scotland Tonight programme, on how immigration is framed in EU referendum debate, including the effect of the net migration target on public debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description TV interview, Sunday Politics, 22 Feb 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact TV interview about Brexit, which included discussion of PoM insights about the net migration target.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk at Royal Geographic Society public event, 22 March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Talk to the RGS London on UK immigration debate, including the role of targets in framing immigration issues. Prior to the talk, RGS interviewed me for a podcast to broadcast to a wider audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://21stcenturychallenges.org/2016/04/05/policy-making-must-recognise-the-complexities-of-europe...
 
Description Talk at Royal Society of Edinburgh public event, 24 Oct 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk at event on Brexit, in which I discussed (among other things) findings from ESRC PoM project on the net migration target.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk at think tank event, 13th June 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation at a David Hume Institute event, hosted by Audit Scotland, on UK immigration and the EU. Included drawing on findings from the ESRC project on the net migration target.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk at think tank event, 14th Sep 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk at a David Hume Institute event hosted by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, to discuss options for UK immigration policy post-Brexit, including drawing on findings of ESRC project on the net migration target.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk on UK immigration policy, the net migration and Brexit, Europa Institute Edinburgh 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I was on a panel of experts debating EU immigration, public attitudes and Brexit. My presentation covered the impact of the net migration target on public debate on immigration - drawing on findings from my ESRC project on the Politics of Monitoring.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/migration-the-eu-referendum-and-brexitpublic-opinion-prospects-and-im...
 
Description Talk to Scottish Government, 30 August 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Invited talk to Scottish Government (Edinburgh), on UK immigration and the EU, including drawing on findings from ESRC project on the net migration target. The talk was fully booked, and also live-streamed to the policy team in Glasgow.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description The Numbers Game: Targets and Indicators in UK Immigration Policy 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Seminar presentation, weekly International Migration Institute seminar, Oxford University

The talk generated very interesting discussion about the use of targets in immigration policy, the Home Office, and how this compared to use of targets in DFID.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description The Politics of Monitoring: Targets and Indicators in UK Immigration Policy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation to weekly seminar, Sussex Centre for Migration Research

In addition to a lively discussion during and after the event, I was contacted by a policy consultant afterwards, to exchange views on UK asylum policy. The discussion also triggered co-authorship of a further paper with a colleague at Sussex who attended the seminar.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description The Road to Paris: 'The role of targets in climate and energy policy' session at IPPR, London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A briefing to politicians and policy analysts on our work on greenhouse-gas emission monitoring ahead of the Paris COP. This was hosted and mediated by a policy analyst at IPPR.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Workshop on Monitoring and Ignorance, Geneva 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Funded by the University of Edinburgh (an international network grant), the PI organized a workshop on Monitoring and the Production of Ignorance, which was hosted by collaborators in the Graduate Institute, Geneva. The workshop took place in May 2015. Academics from the UK, France, Switzerland, the US and Australia presented papers on how monitoring techniques can produce ignorance, covering different policy sectors (defence, development cooperation, immigration, higher education, international financial regulation, and legal deliberation).

The workshop consolidated the collaboration between the Centre for Science, Knowledge and Policy (SKAPE) at Edinburgh, led by the PI and established in June 2014, building on collaboration for the ESRC Politics of Monitoring project. It also sparked several new collaborations, including between SKAPE (Edinburgh) and researchers in the University of Essex, and Northwestern. We are exploring options for producing a special issue.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description presentation at Norwegian climate-policy centre CICERO November 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact talk to a small group of practitioners, industry actors and academics, held at the Norwegian climate-modelling centre CICERO (Oslo) in autumn 2015 to follow up on analyses arising from the ESRC award and other work funded by the Research Council of Norway that overlapped with PoM concerns.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015