The 1992-1994 Commission on Social Justice was an attempt by John Smith to bring in new ideas to the Labour Party on social justice issues as well as a mechanism to demonstrate change to both the party and to the public. Its influence was more limited than it might have been, not least because of the death of Smith and the different ambitions of his successor. The story of the Commission is useful for understanding how and why political parties outsource policy making and the difficult balance between thinking through policy and developing plans for office.