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Scrutiny of Strategic Thinking in Government


The purpose of this Sub-Committee inquiry is to make recommendations about how to improve Committee scrutiny of strategic thinking in government and to encourage greater openness from government about its processes for developing and updating strategic plans.

The Committee has launched an inquiry into the effectiveness of Select Committee scrutiny of strategic thinking in Whitehall.

The UK faces an increasing number of serious immediate and long-term strategic challenges and opportunities which require a coordinated, sustainable, response across Government, with cross-party support, and often in collaboration with our international partners. The pace of change and the connectivity between issues are always accelerating, making it harder but also more urgent to plan for the future, for what can be foreseen and for the unexpected. Goals and solutions are often some way in the future, and require continuing strategic leadership across several Parliaments.

While Select Committees scrutinise the activities of their respective departments, departmental structures are not always conducive decision making on many serious strategic issues. It can be difficult for Committees to access information about how these challenges are being addressed across Government.

We aim to make recommendations about

  • how to improve strategic thinking in government;
  • how Committees can deliver effective scrutiny of strategic thinking;
  • how Committees can exercise ‘forward accountability’ (holding government to account for learning from experience and planning better for the future);
  • how Committees can encourage positive engagement between Ministers and Committees in this area.

Read the call for evidence for more detail about the inquiry.