Invited Symposium 1


SUPERU – Evidence as Dialogue: Maximising the Impact for Children, Young People and Families


This symposium explores the ways in which we can effect positive change through the use of evidence. ‘Evidence as dialogue’ describes both the role that evidence can play throughout the policy making, implementation and evaluation processes, and the interactive nature of the relationship between evidence, policymaking and practice. In order to affect positive change for children, young people and families, the nature and quality of this dialogue is important. Here dialogue is about more than consultation; it is about using evidence as an instrument for change. Analysts from the Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (SUPERU) will reflect on the opportunities and challenges of using evidence as dialogue, and the implications of this approach for the form this evidence takes. This symposium will explore ways in which evidence can have a direct relationship with policy making by anticipating the needs of the user and presenting findings in ways that can be understood by decision-makers.

Each presentation will draw upon a current SUPERU project (either primary research or a review of existing evidence), including a synthesis of evidence on family resilience and an evaluation of the Youth Mental Health Project. SUPERU’s role as a broker between research and policy making links the papers presented in this symposium, along with a focus on the development of healthy children, young people, family and whānau. The presenters will use the project examples to highlight innovative ways to influence policymakers and service providers, so that key evidence can see the light of day and be used for evidence-informed policies and practices.

Discussant: Professor Stuart McNaughton, Wolf Fisher Research Centre, Auckland University

PresenterPresentation Title
Dr Jeremy Robertson & Kim NathanEffective parenting programmes - using what we know to inform evidence-based policy
Dr Jeremy Robertson and Dr Katie BruceAchieving despite the odds: What works to build family resilience in New Zealand?
Zoë HawsWhat works: Improving outcomes for children with a parent in prison
Dr Gail KellyMeasuring the collective impact of the Youth Mental Health Project

Chair: Gail Kelly

Dr Gail Kelly is the Director of Client Services & Sector Change at SUPERU (the Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit), formally known as the Families Commission. Gail has a PhD in Psychology and has had the opportunity to use her social research and evaluation skills across multiple settings in both Australia and New Zealand. This has included the social sector, the environmental area, at the community level and in the tax field. Gail enjoys the challenge of leading research and evaluation teams within the public sector, and especially ensuring the evidence is used by decision makers.