We have grown used to the idea that policy reviews should be done by anyone other than the Civil Service. The FT suggested that a review of policy should have been undertaken by a minister – but then points out that, in a coalition, the question of which minister is fraught.  Would this be a Lib Dem review? Or a Conservative one? But even in the normal sort of coalition, a single party coalition, it is difficult to ask one minister to mark others’ performance. And that review would have to be supported by the Civil Service. Others have suggested that it is strange that the Prime Minister has gone to an insider – rather than pick an external reviewer. Ministers do indeed have a strong revealed preference for borrowing the credibility of an external reviewer – usually a business person or academic. But the impact of their interventions is quite arbitrary and unstudied – and the impact is often more in the appointment than in any follow-through.  But it is hard to understand why they are assumed to be better placed to review government policy than someone with unrivalled policy experience inside the machine. In Australia, the Prime Minister […]

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