Memorandum by the Ministry of Defence
Thank you for your letter of 16 February 2000 to
Geoff Hoon regarding the Select Committee on Public Administration's
inquiry into "Innovations in Public Participation".
I am replying as the Minister responsible for public service matters
in the Ministry of Defence.
The Ministry of Defence is committed to following
best practice in public consultation. The Department has been
made widely aware of Cabinet Office guidance on conducting public
consultations, though in practice few areas of MOD are engaged
in the sort of work that requires public consultation in the sense
of that guidance. Consultation with the Trade Unions is, however,
You asked in your letter for information on:
innovative approaches to public consultation
used since 1997 (purpose, method, response, level and outcomes),
including specific examples;
ways in which decision-making processes
have been adapted to take account of public consultation; and
lessons learned regarding good (and
bad) practice in consultation.
I am submitting two case studies for the Ministry
of Defence (see Annexes A and B), which are the consultation processes
for the Strategic Defence Review and for the drawing up of the
Defence Estate Strategy. The consultation process for the latter
is still underway, prior to the publication of the Strategy, planned
for this summer.
The overarching lesson we have learned from
both these consultation exercises is that whilst involving ouside
interested groups in the policy process is not always easy to
manage, it does improve the quality of policy making by accessing
new ideas and a wider pool of expertise. It can also reduce conflict
and give the final outcome a sense of common ownership and a greater
degree of credibility.
I hope the Select Committee will find this information
Dr Lewis Moonie MP
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
5 April 2000