When a new government takes office it brings two things with it to govern: people and policy. The Institute for Government has looked in the past at how well prepared the people are for government, and it has also examined how policy is made in government. This project seeks to add to the Institute’s work on the policy making process by studying how policy is developed when a party is in opposition and what affect this has on policies taken into government and their implementation.
The making policy in opposition project examines how a number of policies that have been developed in opposition – building on the Institute’s case studies of policy making and adding new examples on:
- the 1992-1994 Commission on Social Justice
- the 2007-10 development of the Conservatives’ Work Programme
- the progress of Universal Credit up to 2010
The project allows us to consider:
- How policy making is affected by the resources available – in expertise, in the information available for and type of analysis and opportunities for challenge.
- How comprehensive policy ought to be when taken into government. How this affects the room for manoeuvre new governments have and the role the Civil Service provide in the early days of a new government.
- What kinds of constructive challenge and scrutiny exist for opposition policy making. What can be learnt from suggested improvements to policy making in government?
- What implementation in government involves and what issues need to be considered when policy is developed in opposition.
The lessons from these case studies and from wider research on the opposition policy making process are brought together in a short report, Making Policy in Opposition: lessons for effective government.