Policy making is Whitehall's core business. We have looked at past attempts to reform policy and are proposing changes to inform policy making in the future and ways it should adapt to the challenges of decentralisation and complex problems.
Big thinkers event series
This event sees Dan Ariely, James B Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Economics at Duke University, and Evan Davis, Radio 4 Today Programme presenter discuss how our new understanding of honesty and dishonesty could affect the way we govern.
Jacob Hacker, who introduced the concept to Ed Miliband and other European leaders at a Policy Network conference in Oslo in 2009, will be interviewed by Edward Stourton to explain the concept. They will discuss what ‘predistribution’ would mean for the US and how it could apply to the UK. How far does it have the potential to help address concerns about falling living standards and rising inequality at a time when developed country governments across the world are reining back budgets to cut deficits?
Marco Steinberg of the Helsinki Design Lab discusses design-led policy. He claims that that we are currently in ‘crisis’ and facing some of the biggest problems of our time but that the government is ill-equipped to deal with them. In spite of the interconnectedness of the issues we face, government continues to take a ‘siloed’ approach. One group of people is charged with creating visions for change (politicians), and another who is charged with delivering on those visions (civil servants). Steinberg argues that this system creates a disconnect between design and delivery, and that a fundamental re-think in the way government approaches big projects is needed.
Professor Cass Sunstein discusses themes and lessons from his last book Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness as well as his forthcoming book Simpler: The Future of Government. He identifies the link between Nudge and Simpler as a recognition that human beings are prone to some common errors, such as being over-optimistic in assessment of risk, paying more attention to subjective experience than to objective evidence, and insufficiently considering the long-term. Drawing on Daniel Kahneman’s distinction between System 1 thinking (fast, intuitive, superficial) and System 2 thinking (slow, rational, deliberate), Sunstein sets out the principles of good regulation: make it automatic, simple, intuitive and meaningful.