Integrating data, knowledge, and expertise for policy advice: understanding the practices of Dutch organized crime control professionals

Authors Wybren van Rij, Rianne Dekker, Albert Meijer
Published in Data & Policy
Publication date 2024
Type Report


Current research on data in policy has primarily focused on street-level bureaucrats, neglecting the changes in the work of policy advisors. This research fills this gap by presenting an explorative theoretical understanding of the integration of data, local knowledge and professional expertise in the work of policy advisors. The theoretical perspective we develop builds upon Vickers’s (1995, The Art of Judgment: A Study of Policy Making, Centenary Edition, SAGE) judgments in policymaking. Empirically, we present a case study of a Dutch law enforcement network for preventing and reducing organized crime. Based on interviews, observations, and documents collected in a 13-month ethnographic fieldwork period, we study how policy advisors within this network make their judgments. In contrast with the idea of data as a rationalizing force, our study reveals that how data sources are selected and analyzed for judgments is very much shaped by the existing local and expert knowledge of policy advisors. The weight given to data is highly situational: we found that policy advisors welcome data in scoping the policy issue, but for judgments more closely connected to actual policy interventions, data are given limited value.

Language English
Published in Data & Policy
Key words curtailment, data, enablement, judgments, policymaking
Digital Object Identifier 10.1017/dap.2023.37