What is a think-and-do tank?


The goal of the policy unit is to help create a more innovative, prosperous, socially just society: and a society where citizens are empowered to explore creative alternatives to status quo.

The past two years have generated an unprecedented level of political engagement. It is our task to galvanize this incredible energy and continue to strive to normalise progressive ideas.

Nobody is underestimating the magnitude of the challenge ahead. We are about to be faced with further waves of austerity measures that purposefully set out to target the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society. The unencumbered market based politics that dominate our landscape may be largely unquestioned, but is unquestionably failing. Our challenge here at Common Weal policy unit is to produce watertight, comprehensive, socially just alternatives to this destructive conventional wisdom.

Common Weal policy unit differs to a typical think tank in that it has two primary aims.

The first aim is the ‘think’ part. We will produce high-quality, evidence-based research to bring about the adoption of progressive policies, encouraging a more decentralised, participatory form of politics. We will do this by facilitating a platform for our policy network of talented academics and practitioners to connect and promote their ideas through policy engagement capabilities.

The second aim is what notably differentiates us from other think tanks, the ‘do’ part. As well as lobbying to influence policy, we wish to reimagine how people relate to policy, by generating a more interactive form of policy development that actively encourages engagement in civil society.

A significant part of this will focus on reimagining how people interact with policy. By utilising multimedia platforms, hosting talks and discussions, creating read easy versions, and making educational packs for our policies, we hope to continue to encourage people to engage with policy.

Taking a policy to a party that has undergone expert, evidence-based research is persuasive. But taking a policy to a party that challenges a damaging status quo and offers viable, socially just alternative to mitigate and alleviate austerity in the midst of a society that’s thinking and engaged is truly powerful.

We live in the fourth most unequal country in the developed world, where one in four children grow up in poverty and food banks are oversubscribed. We know that more callous austerity measures are looming ahead, and will only worsen this chronic inequality that scars our society.

We need to be bold, innovative and brave. Now is the time for change. Now is the time to put all of us first.