Former Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell is spending some time as a visiting professor at the department of political science of University College London. This video is of his inaugural lecture in that post. Anyone interested the direction of public policy and the way that decisions are made in government will find it useful watching.
In it he looks at what he sees as being the barriers to effective public policy and argues that to overcome them policy makers should;
- Be clearer about what the outcomes are that they want a particular policy to achieve
- Ensure that there are clear lines of accountability for those implementing the policy
I felt that underlying the lecture was a senior civil servants frustration with a broken political system. His suggestions for fixing it, perhaps unsurprisingly, are largely technocratic ones. While these have merit he doesn’t have much to say about the reform of politics itself — indeed he is pessimistic about the potential for constitutional change.
This content was originally posted on my old Strange Thoughts blog.