New guidance cautions local authorities that have been hit hard by austerity against using untested programmes in disadvantaged areas.
The guidance, published by the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, advises policy makers on how to effectively use evidence and data in policy making.
It recommends that councils dealing with limited budgets should define and measure success, draw on evidence, taylor policies and share learnings.
Professor Henry Overman, director of the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, commented: ‘Ten years of falling local government budgets have made it even more important for policy makers to target their service delivery.
‘To help with this we have been working with Grimsby and Wakefield Councils for the past year to develop advice for local authorities about how to make the best use of evidence and data available to deliver economic and social improvements.’
Professor Overman urged struggling councils to avoid ‘piloting’ untested proposals in left-behind areas.
‘While pilots can be useful, the focus in our most disadvantaged areas should be on learning from existing evidence to find tangible and proven ways to improve their performance,’ he said.