https://foresightprojects.blog.gov.uk/2018/07/12/working-together-to-design-future-facing-policy/

Working together to design future-facing policy

What do you think policy-making will look like in 2030? How can government make policy future-facing?

In the Projects team in the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat (EDS), these are the types of questions we regularly ask ourselves. Our team tackles some of Whitehall’s most complex cross-cutting issues by collaborating with departments to design and implement innovative policy, governance and technological design. We focus on addressing the Prime Minister’s priorities and long-term policy challenges, from mental health to loneliness to the private rented sector.

Over the past three years EDS-Projects, a team within EDS, has worked with a range of innovation teams across Cabinet Office and beyond, including the Government Office for Science (GOS), Policy Lab, the Open Innovation Team, Commercial Models, Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) and What Works. But often we realised these teams were working in isolation, rather than together, as they lacked a mechanism to collaborate and share knowledge with one another. To maximise the impact of these teams, we created the Future Policy Network*, bringing together 13 teams across government to unite innovation teams, encourage cross-team collaboration and establish a common purpose.

Earlier this year, the Future Policy Network celebrated its first anniversary, which was addressed by Sir Jeremy Heywood. The event provided an opportunity to reflect on what we can achieve when we work together. Here are just a few of the things we’re proud of:

  • work by EDS-Projects and GOS exploring the evidence on loneliness, as well as the opportunities for government to go further in tackling it, shaped the PM’s response to Jo Cox Commission’s manifesto in January earlier this year. EDS-Projects is now supporting the development of the cross-government strategy on loneliness, whilst the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is taking forward the work on the measure, and the What Works Centre for Wellbeing is undertaking a review of interventions to tackle loneliness
  • Policy Lab worked with UK Space Agency to pioneer an interactive way of mapping dependencies between Critical National Infrastructure and space services. The work was informed by GOS’ review of global navigation satellite systems and systems thinking that built on their driver mapping technique outlined in GOS’ Futures Toolkit. The UKSA is now using the dependency map to engage stakeholders and demonstrate the importance of space services. Stakeholders have said they feel better informed and more confident to assess the dependencies between space services and their critical national infrastructures
  • Policy Lab worked with UK Space Agency to pioneer an interactive way of mapping dependencies between Critical National Infrastructure and space services. The work was informed by GOS’ review of global navigation satellite systems and systems thinking that built on their driver mapping technique outlined in GOS’ Futures Toolkit. The UKSA is now using the dependency map to engage stakeholders and demonstrate the importance space services. Stakeholders have said it has changed their view of the dependencies between space services and other critical national infrastructures
  • EDS-Projects, Policy Lab, ONS and Commercial Models collaborated to build the evidence base on the experience and views of landlords and tenants in the PRS which has had a direct impact on the development of housing policy. Policy Lab were particularly commended for the value their human-centred research, design and prototyping techniques provided. They were asked to support the former Housing Minister, Alok Sharma, to engage with over 800 social housing residents, collecting their stories, views and ideas to feed into future housing policy

We’ve only recently turned one year old but our achievements to date have encouraged us to be even more ambitious this coming year. We’re always keen to hear from those working on innovative and future-facing projects, so please do get in touch by emailing us horizonscanningsecretariat@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

*The Future Policy Network is made up of the following teams:

  • EDS-Projects (Cabinet Office)
  • Policy Lab (Cabinet Office)
  • Analysis & Insight (Cabinet Office)
  • Open Innovation Team (Cabinet Office)
  • Future Sectors (BEIS)
  • Government Office for Science
  • Business Partnerships (Cabinet Office)
  • Commercial Models (Cabinet Office)
  • What Works (Cabinet Office)
  • Policy Response Unit (Office for National Statistics)
  • GDS Data Science Team
  • Behavioural Insights Team
  • Government Inclusive Economy Unit

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