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.



The role of advisory bodies in the policy cycle

While policy advisory bodies underpin all phases of the policy cycle, including voice, design, implementation and evaluation, different bodies may play slightly different roles. In the policy development phase, ad hoc advisory bodies play a relatively larger role than permanent advisory bodies, which tend to operate more upstream. In the implementation phase, all bodies tend to be relatively active except for public think tanks and foresight bodies, which have a relatively small role in this phase. Ad hoc advisory bodies, as well as permanent advisory bodies with a secretariat and public research institutions have a relatively large role in the evaluation phase.


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