In our 2011 report, Making Policy Better we noted that change would only happen if “there was clear ownership within departments for the integrity and health of the policy making system”; that “the doctrine of ministerial responsibility makes it too easy for the Civil Service to avoid taking responsibility for the quality of individual policy decisions”; and that “some departments have failed to create a culture that consistently challenges policy making to ensure it is high quality”. We also noted that “no one at the centre of government has a general brief for the quality of the policy process”. The publication of the policy profession review yesterday shows that the “policy profession” is now willing to rise to our challenges. Improving policy It makes some potentially significant changes. First, it beefs up the role of the Head of Policy Profession in departments – with a responsibility both to raise standards and drive improvement within the department but also to contribute to civil service wide action to professionalise. And it commits departmental permanent secretaries (all of whom signed the report) to support the transformation of the Head of the Policy Profession role. It is now clear who is accountable for the […]

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