Liblink: Duncan Brack on how to get green policies implemented in Government

Until recently, Duncan Brack was Chris Huhne’s Special Adviser in the Department of Energy and Climate Change. He has written for the Green Alliance blog about the challenges of putting green policies into practice. As well as insight into the practical realities of Government, he has some interesting points to make about the importance of policy making within political parties and how it might need to change in the future:

The coalition agreement hammered out by Liberal Democrat and Conservative negotiators over five days of talks in May 2010 (with details added over the following two weeks) became, at least in the early months of the government, the holy grail of policy. It was afforded a high degree of significance by ministers and officials alike. Policies could still be implemented if they weren’t in the agreement, and their presence in the agreement didn’t absolutely guarantee implementation, but it certainly helped a good deal.

Furthermore, although there is a process underway to examine the implementation of the agreement, there won’t be a coalition agreement mark 2 in the current parliament. So what is in the original agreement, and what’s in the election manifestos from which it will be primarily drawn up, matters a good deal in setting the agenda for future governments.

In turn, this should have an influence on the policy-making processes that lie behind the manifestos. Although the Liberal Democrats’ predilection for detailed (and democratic) policy-making processes is well known, it’s probably fair to conclude that in the light of the party’s experience in coalition, the process actually wasn’t detailed enough, leaving too many gaps on which party policy was silent. Similarly, if other parties come to expect the need to be prepared for negotiations, like those in 2010, their own policy-making processes may adapt accordingly.

You can read the article in full here. 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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