The myth of evidence based policy

First published: 29 March 2019 | Last updated: 21 May 2019

Dr Robin Davidson

Professor Robin Davidson is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist. For many years he was Head of the Clinical Psychology Services of the Northern Health and Social Board in Northern Ireland after leaving the Leeds Addiction Unit. He currently has works for Queens University Belfast, London South Bank University and the Isle of Man Health Service. He is Co Chair of GAIN (the NI equivalent of NICE) and Chair of Alcohol Research UK, formerly AERC.

The myth of evidence based policy

“Life is a trap for logicians. It looks a little more mathematical and regular than it is. Its exactitude is obvious but its inexactitude is hidden. Its wilderness lies in wait”.

(G K Chesterton).

I will argue the evidence based alcohol policy is as elusive as evidence based alcohol practice. The plethora of stakeholders and their different outcomes, the zeitgeist, the psychology of ministers and civil servants, all mitigate against a logical translation of science into policy.


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