Policymaking in Whitehall can seem far removed from the reality of services on the ground. In an effort to address this, the Connecting Policy with Practice Programme has, for the last two years, connected policymakers in Whitehall with people who deliver services to support vulnerable groups. This report presents conclusions and reflections developed from the programme.

A partnership between the Big Lottery Fund and the Institute for Government, the programme came about to learn more from the Big Lottery Fund’s innovative investments into creating better services for young people far from the labour market and adults with multiple and complex needs, as well as exploring a new method of open policymaking. The programme has drawn insights from pairs of policymakers and practitioners who have worked together to solve problems and explore each other’s worlds.

In the second year of the Programme, the policymakers and practitioners who took part were set two challenging questions to guide their work:

  • how can we more systematically make better use of the assets, experience and engagement of service users in the design and delivery of services?
  • how can we move towards policy and services that operate on the principle that complex problems require ‘whole-person’ solutions?

For each of these questions participants identified four pointers for improvement.