Operations manager at Pineapple Operations, Supply Chain consultant at Alvea, and volunteer with Pandemic Prevention Network.
In my previous life, I was project manager for an airline and a data analyst for NYC's transit system.
If you're working on or researching supply chains in biosecurity, let me know! There may be opportunities to collaborate.
I can share about my experience switching into EA as a mid-career professional. Happy to chat about operations as well.
Hi @JoshuaBlake - thank you so much for taking the time to read the post and especially providing this feedback. This is incredibly helpful in providing additional context and information which we would like to add to the post/report. We would like to address and clarify some of the points you’ve brought up:
1. The post focuses on influencing MPs because the campaign that was aiming to garner support from the public. Since MPs have the opportunity to listen and represent the ideas of their community, they would be a bridge between their constituents and the government. Knowing that MPs can propose new laws, raise issues, and ask questions to government ministers, having the support of and raising awareness to MPs has a potential impact on future pandemic-related policies. While there may be other politicians or stakeholders that could have been influenced, we kept the scope of this narrow to have a more focused topic to research on. It could be a good recommendation for other future research or articles to look into and compare the political influence of the stakeholders you mentioned to gain a better understanding of how to influence on policy in the UK.
2. You’ve made a fair point on the process of counselling that SAGE provides to the government. Seeing that they do not directly influence MPs, then their relation to policy-making would stem from their influence on the cabinet as you’ve mentioned. Having a campaign supported by SAGE could indirectly influence MPs to support as well from the perspective that it would give credential to the campaign. With this, ranking them as medium for political influence still stands as while they seldomly/never work directly with MPs, policy is still heavily impacted by their guidance.
3. Including NERVTAG, SPI-M and SPI-B to the stakeholder map could provide a greater number of examples to compare against for the ranking of government experts. This could be included in an edited/future post or report.
4. You mention that SAGE is the same as academic experts. While you're right that SAGE is made up of academic experts, their influence is different from academic experts who are not on government panels, of which we wanted to make the distinction. The Parliament themselves acknowledged that the influence of academic experts outside of SAGE was limited during the pandemic, and thus potentially poor choices were made at the beginning of the pandemic due to the narrow focus of SAGE.
5. Thank you for noting the discontinuation of JBC. Since work has been transferred to UKSHA, perhaps it would be better to replace JBC with them and determine the ranking based on its current responsibilities and role.
6. For the Great Barrington Declaration, noting its international reach, it would be difficult to place and determine the influence that it would have over UK politics. We aimed to focus on more local groups to better gauge how we might rank them. Would love to hear any thought processes you might have for including such international initiatives and how to determine the influence it might have over MPs.
7. Placing academic experts as “low” for political influence was based on the articles we came across and read. Seeing the examples you gave on how these experts influenced decisions such as rapid testing or reopening, we would love to look into those articles. Would be great if you had the links for these, and we can look into adjusting the ranking for a future post.
8. The impact of any one group is difficult to quantify and will depend on the person, the policy issue, at a minimum. We collected the information based on reports we found from various government and public sources (see here for the summary of the examples), supplemented by review from those who have worked in or with the government sector. While we tried to inject some nuance into the report, considering the complexities of government and influence, but realize that it's difficult to do it well.
Again, we would like to express our thanks to you for taking the time to read the article and write your feedback. We understand that there are shortcomings to this article given information accessed, and limited background and context of UK politics. However, we still stand by the potential of the information compiled to be helpful and act as a starting point for other organisations who might be new to the campaigning space in the UK. Having constructive and helpful discussions on how these perspectives can be improved, can be a great step forward in better understanding how to influence MPs and policy.
-Alex and Nikki
Thanks for your feedback! Your follow-up made us take a closer look at our calculation, which we have now updated in our post. Turns out, most placements were part-time, so the cost per placement is about double our initial estimate.
It is difficult to define placement, as we didn't capture that information (our feedback form now aims to capture that). However, based on feedback, some candidates were part of a closed hiring round, indicating that Pineapple was the primary access point to the candidates. This is further corroborated by some employer anecdotes, who said that searching the Pineapple list was how they identified and narrowed down candidates. That said, this could be limited to just the couple of candidate placements, so I am not very certain on this by any means. We will aim to share as we get more info.
Good question about EA experience. We ask each candidate about their EA involvement (in hours spent total on EA). Those who got placements had the following EA involvement: 5-20 hours (1 person), 20-100 hours (3 people), and 100+ hours (5 people).