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PASC calls for annual statement of strategy to parliament
Peter Riddell, Director of the Institute for Government, who gave evidence to the committee said:
“We agree with PASC’s assessment on the need for more strategic thinking in government. Our research has demonstrated that, compared to other countries, the UK centre of government is light on the ability to commit departments to a longer term strategy.
“Strategic thinking in Whitehall is too often back to front – it is based upon what spending decisions are being made, instead of basing spending decisions around the strategic priorities for the whole of government. Obviously finance and strategy have to be linked but in the right order.
“At PASC I pointed out that ‘politicians feel that they know what the public thinks, so they narrow the debate or seek to influence the debate by having reviews that produce the results they want. Governments are afraid of posing politically difficult options, consequently, there is a reluctance to have an open debate on strategic choices on, say, tax issues. A strategic approach will be important in the next spending round and deciding the priorities for government should not only involve consulting more with departments but should involve more open consultation with the public too.”