Our political system is based on 4-year cycles and adversarial rather than cooperative decision-making by Parliament. Select Committees in the Commons and their equivalent in the Lords do good work but they are too narrowly focused and have no power to implement change. Deeply-embedded problems and unexpected challenges at national and global levels need continuity of planning and sustained action over longer time-scales to secure progress. Our current system is an anachronism, not designed for strategic thinking and planning to face the Big Challenges. For example:
1. How do we work together in more effective ways globally to recover from this pandemic and to prepare for the next one?
2. How can we deliver high-quality health care for all and resolve the challenges of an ageing population, including social care and pensions?
3. How do we deal with climate change and the degradation of the natural environment?
4. How can we narrow the wealth gap between rich and poor and secure a fair basic income for all?
5. How do we grow the skills-base that we need for the future of work?
During the pandemic and post-Brexit transition, many have been calling for a ‘government of national unity’ to get us through the wide range of challenges of the next 5 to 10 years and beyond. Key national and international problems will only be solved by bringing together the best political and professional minds, informed by widely representative views and experience, to plan strategically and implement policies for long term change and improvement. The Big Challenges also create opportunities for new ways of working in government.