Set up of the Contestable Policy Fund The Contestable Policy Fund (CPF) was designed to allow ministers to commission policy advice from external organisations “such as think tanks, academic or voluntary organisations”. Accessing the CPF allows departments to have the Cabinet Office contribute half the cost of their project through match funding. The available budget for matching was set at £500,000 a year. Low demand The first thing that is notable about the CPF from the information put out is how little demand there seems to have been for it. There have only been 17 projects commissioned. Only nine departments have used the fund at all – and an average of just less than twice each. The third round has attracted only two uses so far. DWP top the usage chart with three projects for which they were sole commissioner – and a joint project with the Department of Health. It is not clear what to make of this. One reading is that ministers are totally content with the advice that they get from their officials. Another is that, for the small amounts involved, it is just not worth going to the Cabinet Office for a 50% subsidy. The third […]

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