Policy Advisory Systems

Supporting Good Governance and Sound Public Decision Making

image of Policy Advisory Systems

Governments face increasingly complex, dynamic and ‘wicked’ challenges that require new policy solutions. To help them understand and respond to these challenges, policy makers often rely on evidence from advisory bodies operating at arms' length from government. This report provides a comparative overview and analysis of the important role played by these bodies in public consultation and decision making. It is based on a survey of policy advisory systems in 17 countries and a series of qualitative interviews. The report examines the institutional set up of such systems, and the role they play in the policy cycle. It discusses how to ensure that they contribute to open, inclusive and sound policy making.



Governance and practical arrangements

Governance and practical arrangements matter. The independence of advisory bodies at arm’s length is crucial for un-biased advice and enables evidence to bear into the policy-making process, irrespective of political undertones and beyond daily issues. Strengthening the institutional framework of advisory bodies requires formal rules and well-established frameworks. Access to government information is also crucial. Sufficient resources matter to enable quality advice, including skilled policy advisors, and a well-functioning organisational structure supporting a healthy research environment. This helps maintain the autonomy of advisory bodies and create space for quality analysis. The study found that practices across countries differ significantly in this regard.


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