The UK Public Accounts Committee has recently carried out a consultation exercise on ‘Strategic Thinking in Government’. A link to the submission made by me can be found below.
Background to the consultation
Reasons for the inquiry
In October 2010 PASC published a report, ‘Who does UK National Strategy?’, which concluded: The answer we received to the question, “Who does UK Grand Strategy?” is: no-one … As things stand there is little idea of what the UK’s national interest is, and therefore what our strategic purpose should be.
The global system is increasingly multipolar, with power shifting East, potentially diffusing to international institutions and to different non-state actors (like civil society, business, high-net worth individuals, cities and regions, sovereign wealth funds, Diaspora groups, international multi-stakeholder fora).
The development in social media that harnesses the ‘wisdom of crowds’, cyber-advances, and other technological progress is transforming the context of policy making. This challenges the capacity and nature of government but also provides opportunities for both stronger engagements with the public and clearer national leadership.
The complex and unpredictable nature of many global issues, which stem from multiple and interrelated problems, require systems-based and evidence-based analyses if emergent strategy is to be effective and efficient. Within this context, many countries (including the UK) face implicit, diffuse and unpredictable risks, rather than explicit and identifiable threats.
In a previous report, we identified a deficit of strategic capacity across Government. In its initial inquiry, the Committee found “little evidence of sustained strategic thinking or a clear mechanism for analysis and assessment. This leads to a culture of fire-fighting rather than long-term planning”.
We wish to assess what progress has been made since then.