The Civil Service has always rather looked down on the idea that formal qualifications can help you do the job as policy maker better. True, increasing numbers reach the top entering as professional economists. And the current government, although putting the old National School for Government onto the quango bonfire has set up both the ‘Commissioning Academy’ (in reality a Cabinet Office training programme for staff) and the Major Project Leadership Academy – a rather more formal partnership with the Said Business School in Oxford and Deloitte. There have also been individual departmental initiatives – like the Department of Health’s health policy master’s degree at Imperial College London. But until recently the view has been widespread that policy making per se is picked up on the job and does not require specialist skills or training. As such it has struggled with being badged as a profession on a par with those that do have recognised training and accreditation. The proposed master’s course, which the policy profession is developing jointly with the LSE is designed to address that – and offer an avowedly elite qualification to those expected to be the official policy leaders of the future. This is something the […]

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