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The Strategy Unit

Welcome to the Strategy Unit. The role of the Unit is to provide a cross-departmental perspective on the major challenges facing the UK, to work with departments in developing their key policies, and to provide strategic advice and support to the Prime Minister/No 10.

Latest News

Social and economic change and the implications for education policy

teacher and pupils

Prof. Andreas Schleicher's presentation will review the standards of quality, equity and efficiency that are achieved by different education systems together with important policy levers that are associated with a successful performance. It will also illustrate how different education systems use global benchmarks to set policy targets in terms of measurable goals achieved by other systems, gauge the pace of educational progress and review the reality of educational delivery at the frontline, and support to the political economy of educational reform.

Trust in public servants


Baroness O'Neill's presentation looked at the questions around trust and lack of trust in public servants, part of a rich panoply of preoccupation with (mis) trust in British life, and how the same themes also dominate discussions of (mis) trust in politicians, the media and professionals.

Politics of the Recession

Economy image

Andrew Gamble's talk on "Politics of the Recession" focusing on the impact on national and international politics, covers a number of scenarios, looking at whether the effects of this recession are different from previous recessions, whether it is marked by a shift in the international balance of power, what are the political conditions for recovery, and what is likely to be the political fall-out from fiscal retrenchment and sovereign debt.

Employment White Paper

Image of Job application

The Building Britain's Recovery: Achieving Full Employment White Paper sets out proposals to tackle the effects of the recession and to get back to full employment in the future. In particular, it announces substantial new measures to ensure the recession does not give young people the worst possible start to their working lives. It sets out the next stage of welfare and employment reform to help more people back to work and make sure they are better off in work. But it also makes clear an approach that is not just to get people into work, but to keep them in work, and to build a fair and family-friendly labour market where everyone has the opportunity to develop their skills and experience.

Professor Linda Bilmes, Productivity in the Public Services

Hospital image

Monday 7th December 2009. In the last of our series of Autumn seminar, Professor Linda Bilmes, from John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, presented her research findings from her publications, The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict (co-author Joseph Stiglitz) and The People Factor: Strengthening America by Investing in Public Service (co-author W. Scott Gould). Together with her forthcoming textbook, Budgeting for Better Performance (published in 2010).

Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Driving efficiency - what government can learn from business'

Graph image

Tuesday, 1st December 2009. Lucy Neville-Rolfe's talk on " Driving efficiency - what government can learn from business " will focus from the perspective of two careers-one in Government and one in the private sector- Lucy will discuss how Tesco sets a strategy and encourages the right culture to deliver efficiency in the UK and globally. Are there lessons for Whitehall and what can we learn from each other?" Please note there are no further documents from this event.

Putting the frontline first: smarter government

Image of Big-Ben

Putting the frontline first: smarter government, is an action plan for delivering better public services for lower cost. The plan has three central actions: to drive up standards by strengthening the role of citizens and civic society; to free up public services by recasting the relationship between the centre and the frontline; and to streamline the centre of government, saving money through sharper delivery. The Cabinet Office Strategy Unit developed this plan in partnership with HM Treasury and the wider Civil Service.

Policing White paper

Image of policemen

The Strategy Unit provided strategic, analytical and policy-making support to the Home Office for the policing White Paper “Protecting the Public: Supporting the Police to Succeed.” The key proposals are to provide stronger avenues for redress for the public when standards fall short, and to deliver better value for money and greater productivity from the police.

The Decline of Civil Society

ResPublica Logo

On 25th November the Strategy Unit hosted a seminar by Phillip Blond, Director of the new think-tank ResPublica, on social breakdown, the decline of civil society, and the potential community-based policy responses to these challenges.

The green economy

Global warming

On 12th November 2009 the Strategy Unit hosted a seminar by Professor Sir David King on the issue of how the UK can move to a low carbon economy. The seminar was the latest in an on-going series exploring the future of the UK economy and the challenges of public service reform.

Skills for Growth - A national strategy for economic growth and individual prosperity

Student with books in a library

On 11th November 2009 the Skills White Paper "Skills for Growth - A national strategy for economic growth and individual prosperity" was published. The Strategy Unit worked closely with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on the development of the white paper.

Power in People's Hands: Learning from the World's Best Public Services

A doctor with a patient

Our report, 'Power in People's Hands: Learning from the World's Best Public Services' was recently published in consultation with HM Treasury. The report presents the findings of a study on leading edge innovations in world-wide public services, which involved interviewing 50 academics, public servants and other experts from around the world. The report highlights more than 30 case studies from 15 countries.

How can the UK achieve sustainable economic growth in the future?


In September 2009 the Strategy Unit and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (DBIS) led a seminar on how the UK can achieve sustainable economic growth. Participants included Jonathan Haskel (Imperial College London); Rachel Griffith (University College London); Alan Hughes (Cambridge University); Martin Wolf (Financial Times), Chris Humphries (UK Commission for Employment and Skills) and Will Hutton (The Work Foundation).