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Fixing Whitehall’s broken policy machine

8 March 2022


In a new report, Jonathan Slater, who was the most senior civil servant at the DfE from 2016 to 2020, writes that while public engagement is a core part of the role of local government policymakers, it is not seen as important for their counterparts in central government. The result, he says, is that Whitehall shows “surprisingly little interest” in what those who use or deliver public services think, and that “policy” far too often amounts to little more than preparing statements of intent for ministers, rather than actually turning these statements into reality. Published by the Policy Institute at King’s College London, where Slater is a visiting professor, the paper argues the link between the civil service policymakers and the wider public doesn’t seem to have improved since 1968, when a report by Lord Fulton identified a lack of contact between the service and the wider community as a serious problem.



civil service policymaking