Limiting Freedom of Information could strike at the heart of a democratic United Kingdom

The free flow of information and ideas lies at the heart of the very notion of democracy and is crucial to effective respect for human rights. – UNESCO In the House of Commons last week, Justice Secretary Michael Gove said that he believes we need to “revisit” the Freedom of Information Act, adding to renewed speculation […]

Here today, gone tomorrow?

Regular readers of this blog probably need little convincing about the importance of open policymaking and better consultation. This blog is itself a great example of learning-by-doing. And the resources being developed – in particular the frameworks for ideal policy team behaviours and the fledgling matrix should provide a practical toolkit for teams wanting to […]

Whatever happened to open policy?

The Government’s civil service reform plan published last year promised to “make open policymaking the default”, recognising that Whitehall itself does not have a monopoly on expertise. The commitments set out in the plan included: – commissioning policy development from outside organisations such as think tanks; – crowdsourcing questions to shape the definition of the problem (not just […]

Will the Government rethink its approach to consultation?

This project led by the Democratic Society on open policy making has been focusing on how to improve the mechanisms we use for consultation. While it might not have made (m)any headlines, a recent House of Lords report strongly challenged the Government’s new guidance on consultations and has confirmed the concerns of many organisations which have been following these developments closely. […]

Training for the New Behaviours

Recently I attended a module 1 training course for policy makers through Civil Service Learning. It was aimed at civil servants who are new to policy making through to ‘old hands’ who might benefit from a refresher or more formalised training. The group exercises were topical and lively (eg raising the legal age for alcohol […]

Throwing off the cloak of anonymity

It’s a rainy Friday evening and I’m waiting for a train. I absent-mindedly take out my phone to check Twitter. My heart stops. I’m reading about myself. A blog has been published that talks about me, hints at a conspiracy and suggests I’m behaving pretty poorly. What followed was unpleasant, with tweets and blog comments […]

What I learnt at the Open and Collaborative policy making course

I recently attended a great course run by Civil Service Learning. The course covered new ways of thinking about policy development and was attended by colleagues from across government. As usual on courses, I learnt as much from the conversations as I did from the course content. In the days since, I’ve been mulling over […]

Designing e-learning on open policy making- we need your help

Successful policy requires a good understanding of the political context in which policy is formulated; a strong evidence base and, an explicit focus on delivery. The policy profession, with Civil Service Learning, are developing a suite of learning sessions to support those in policy roles in the above areas. As part of this suite of […]

The role of Scientists, Experts & Academia in Open Policymaking

A lot of the discussion around open policymaking has tended to focus on engaging with new stakeholders i.e. those who have not traditionally participated in the policymaking process. But what impact might open policymaking have on the way policymakers have tended to engage with scientists, academia and other expert groups? Also, what role might these […]

Inside Out: Does the way we work impact how we engage?

The  Civil Service Reform Plan (CSR) sets out a number of actions for implementation.  Earlier this week I attended a workshop organised by the Cabinet Office, to consider one of them (action 18): “Drive the culture and behaviours being sought through the new competence framework that sets out the behaviours civil servants need to demonstrate” […]