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Cabinet Office

About the What Works Trial Advice Panel (TAP)

The What Works Trial Advice Panel (TAP) was launched in 2015 to improve the quality and quantity of trialling across central government. TAP is coordinated by the What Works Team in the Cabinet Office.

Comprising around 50 experts from academia and the Civil Service, TAP provides pro-bono advice to policy teams and analysts who are thinking about conducting an impact evaluation. The panel has also been involved in training civil servants on the benefits and technicalities of impact evaluations.

Conversations with TAP members are confidential, and while we take pains to ensure that clients end up with a useful and rigorous trial, there is no obligation to follow the panel’s advice. In short, we’ve tried to make it as easy and appealing as we can for civil servants to make use of TAP’s expertise.

Over the last 4 years, the panel has advised on 72 projects across 24 departments and public bodies, spanning a range of policy areas including energy, adult social care, housing, and family services. TAP has helped its clients in a number of ways, from power calculations to peer reviews. Sometimes the Panel's relationship with a policy team lasts the length of a phone call, and in other cases panel members remain engaged throughout the lifecycle of the trial.

For example, TAP helped the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government design it’s first ever wait-list designed Randomised Controlled Trial. The Trial tested the impact of the Community-Based English Language Programme. The trial showed that relatively small language interventions encouraged women from segregated communities more likely to get involved in local activities. The trial fed into the government’s 2018 Integrated communities strategy green paper a new £6 million Integrated Communities English Language Programme for 2019/2020. For more information and examples of TAP's work, read our three year update report and check out this blog post from one of our existing academic members.

We refreshed the Panel in February 2020. The Panel now includes experts with experience in a broader range of policy areas and evaluation methods. You can view the full list of members below.

What Works Trial Advice Panel (TAP) Members

Get in touch if you have questions or would like to know more:

How do I get advice from the Panel?