Social sustainability is becoming more and more important in many countries around the globe, and especially in Latvia, due to the increase of the share of retired people and, in recent years, restrictions of Covid-19 limitations for work: it was discovered that a big part (estimated so by different sources — State Revenue Service of Republic of Latvia, State Social Insurance Agency of Republic of Latvia, etc.) of the population in Latvia could not get support in case of limited work possibilities because their social contributions before the pandemic were very small or missing. Those aspects affect more and more the society mood, and influence state and municipality institutions to fulfil their obligations foreseen by the legislative norms, even if some of them concern only the pandemic time.
The aim of this paper is to explore the possibilities to increase the application of evidence- based approach in social policy making in Latvia to maintain social sustainability. The research methods used are literature review, analysis of previously conducted research results that were published as results of several projects but not prepared as scientific publications, legislative document analysis, expert interviews and statistical analysis of expert evaluation results in order to identify the main issues and opportunities in the social policymaking process and in the application of the evidence-based approach.
During the interviews, all experts were asked to give answers to three questions. First, the experts were asked to evaluate the significance of the main groups of stakeholders involved in the social policy making in Latvia in scale 1–10. Expert answers showed that some groups of stakeholders have more impact on decision-making policy than others (with arithmetic means of the evaluations from 4.14 till 9.43).
Additionally, experts were asked to evaluate the extent of application of evidence-based decision-making approach in different stages of social policy-making cycle in Latvia in scale 1–10. Expert answers showed that in all stages the application of evidence-based approach is already significant (with arithmetic means of the evaluations from 7.43 till 7.86).
Also, experts were asked to evaluate in scale from –2 to 2 how different policy-making aspects of evidence-based policy development influence application of evidence-based approach in policy making currently in Latvia. The results of expert interviews showed that almost all policy-making aspects are more likely to benefit rather than to impede the application of evidence-based approach to decision-making (with arithmetic means of the evaluations from –0.29 to 1.57).
In conclusion, the authors determine the main possibilities for improvement of the application of the evidence-based decision-making in the social policy-making process in Latvia.