New toolkit aims to help policymakers make evidence-informed decisions on migrant integration
BRUSSELS — Research and data can be powerful tools to inform how policies are designed and implemented, and help governments learn what works (and what does not) and under which conditions. They also help ensure that public funds are used as effectively and efficiently as possible. In the integration field, the smart use of evidence can promote the well-being of both migrants and the broader societies in which they live—key developments as Europe seeks to integrate several million displaced Ukrainians and other migrants and asylum seekers.
A new Migration Policy Institute Europe toolkit released today, as part of the EU-funded Sustainable Practices of Integration (SPRING) project, aims to help policymakers, program administrators and other integration actors more fully leverage evidence in their work. While governments, community organizations and others have exhibited significant innovation, there often has been little bandwidth for developing an evidence base in the heat of crisis to support improved integration policymaking going forward.
The Toolkit for evidence-informed policymaking in migrant integration offers policymakers tools and strategies to infuse evidence into different phases of the policy cycle — from policy design and implementation to program evaluation and dissemination of the evidence collected. It also offers resources on funding and stakeholder engagement, which are important at all stages of the policy cycle.
"Evidence-informed policymaking can make policies more cost-effective, promote better policy outcomes and prevent failures, improve learning from contemporary and past experiences, optimize decisions between policy options and strengthen accountability, legitimacy and transparency," write MPI Europe analysts Jasmijn Slootjes and Maria Belen Zanzuchi.
Beyond expanding the evidence base, they note the importance of investments in dissemination, training and resources to not only deliver the evaluation results into the right hands but ensure they result in concrete actions. At present, even when policy evaluations point to clear recommendations to improve program effectiveness and deliver better outcomes, these often are shelved.
"Too often, evaluation results and policy recommendations are circulated with only a small audience of actors directly involved in a policy or program," Slootjes and Zanzuchi write. "Most are inaccessible to other policymakers and practitioners who could leverage this evidence to strengthen their own work. In short, conducting high-quality evaluations is not enough. Policymakers and others involved in the creation of evidence must also invest in its dissemination to a wider audience if they wish to amplify its impact."
The toolkit features many initiatives and resources that have pushed the integration field forward, helping facilitate learning.
It is the latest publication generated under the Sustainable Practices of Integration (SPRING) project, which aims to make immigrant integration practices more effective and sustainable. SPRING is receiving funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. MPI Europe, which is one of the SPRING consortium partners, previously published a policy brief that offered recommendations on ways to promote evidence-informed policymaking.
Access the toolkit and its individual sections here: www.migrationpolicy.org/research/toolkit-evidence-policymaking.
To learn more about the SPRING project and research and other resources developed by consortium partners, visit: https://integrationpractices.eu/.