Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Teenage Pregnancy & Evidence Based Strategies

I have just read an excellent article published on the Nursing Times website (click here for 'Exploring the evidence on strategies to reduce teenage pregnancy rates' by David Paton, PhD, Chair of Industrial Economics, Nottingham University Business School).

The overall thrust of the article is that the current strategy on teenage pregnancy reduction is just not working. As the conclusion says:
Despite more than £200m being spent on the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, there has been little discernible impact on conception rates, at least at a national level. Although disappointing, these results should not be surprising.
The article is well worth reading in its entirety. You may not have a huge interest in the subject (although I am sure we are all concerned with reducing teenage pregnancy) - but do read it for its analysis and the incisive way in which the author uses an evidence based approach to slice through existing strategies.

I have left a comment at the end saying
This is an excellent and provocative article that I hope makes policy makers and indeed the Teenage Pregnancy Unit sit up and think about their practices and assumptions. I am sure this will not be the end of the story - but the ball is now firmly in the Government's & TPU's court to evidence their continuing strategies. I only wish more Government (at all levels) strategies could undergo such scrutiny - we need more evidence based policy and practice - in every aspect of the public services (not just in health care).
Are your strategies evidence based? How are you evaluating the impact of your strategies?

UPDATE (& EXCELLENT NEWS): 29 October: report shows that restorative justice reduces reoffending - The Prison Reform Trust today publishes Making Amends: restorative youth justice in Northern Ireland, the study reveals that reoffending rates were much lower when offenders were involved in restorative justice schemes. Figures showed four in ten 10 to 17 year-olds committed another crime within a year, compared to 71% of those who had been locked up. (Click here - pdf file)

A great story of how evaluation has shown that a policy has worked - in this case remarkably well!

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