Experts among the general public find it harder than they should to provide unsolicited knowledge to Government to inform and influence Policy, especially in emergencies.

With the public outnumbering Government Sector staff and politicians by at least 50 million adults, inescapably there is significant expertise and specialist knowledge among the general public that cannot exist within Government but could be of great assistance to HMG on many topics.

At the start of the pandemic, many Normal Sized Businesses, i.e. SMALL businesses, found it hard to supply goods and services urgently to the government sector. In the same way individuals and groups with useful expertise often struggled to find a route to assist, in very good faith, in the National Emergency. Of course, quite logically, Government worked through SAGE, Research Establishments and academia. People with useful expertise outside those organisations, however, did not have an obvious route to approach HMG, despite offering, GRATIS, potentially significant and valuable inputs.

More generally, if people wish to influence government policy, most routes are dilute and slow. One can join political parties, trade unions, pressure groups, etc. but, for particular specialist knowledge and expertise, this can be a very slow process. It needs to be easier to find and contact the relevant specialists and responsible people and/or teams in Government.

The Heywood Foundation Contest itself indicates that there is some recognition of this. It aims“to create an additional channel of ideas back to UK policymakers. ” Is an occasional competition of this nature sufficient however?




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