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Making Lives Better in a Changing Scotland

The Scottish Advisory Group on Evidence for Policy Making (SAGE-PM)

Parliament from afar

As further powers are transferred from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament, SAGE-PM exists to take a fresh look at the “big themes” affecting the Scottish economy and society; the extent to which the evidence base supports these; and how best to ensure policy and public engagement with the evidence.



Sir Ian Diamond (National Statistician, Chair)

Professor Marion Bain (Co-Director of the Delivery Group for Public Health Reform at the Scottish Government)

Sir Paul Grice (Clerk and Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament)

Paul Bradshaw (Director, Scottish Centre for Social Research)

Mary Cuthbert OBE (Chair of the Board, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Scotland)

Charlotte Wright (Chief Executive, Highlands and Islands Enterprise)

Dr Rebekah Widdowfield (Chief Executive, Royal Society of Edinburgh)

Guy Goodwin (Chief Executive, National Centre for Social Research)

Professor Carol Tannahill (Director, Glasgow Centre for Population Health)

Professor Sir John Curtice (University of Strathclyde and the Scottish Centre for Social Research)

Professor Chris Dibben (University of Edinburgh and Director of the Administrative Data Centre for Scotland)

Professor David Bell, Professor of Economics, University of Stirling

Dr Gary Gillespie (Chief Economist, Scottish Government)

Andy MacGregor (Head of Policy Research, Scottish Centre for Social Research; Group Secretary)


Terms of Reference

  • To scope the changing political landscape in Scotland and the resulting “big policy themes”;
  • To assess the suitability of the existing evidence base to support those policy themes, including identifying the gaps to be filled;
  • To advise how existing data and evidence can be better promoted and used, including in public debate;
  • To identify specific emerging evidence needs in topic areas that would benefit decision taking, as Scottish policy evolves;
  • To map the key stakeholders that require improved evidence, including considering how best to deliver positive “impact”;
  • To advise on infrastructure and the necessary skills and capability in Scotland;
  • To be a positive force for change and to communicate and promote the changes needed to ensure Scotland has the right evidence base and research capability for its future.


Mode of Operation

  • Members attend as leaders at the forefront of public policy research and its use in Scotland
  • 3 x meetings per year, hosted at the Scottish Centre for Social Research
  • A summary record of the key points is produced after each meeting and made available as a public record.


Resources (.pdf)