Occasional Paper No.22, State Services Commission, December 1999, ISBN 0-478-08984-8, Crown copyright. Providing high quality advice to Ministers is a key function for the Public Service. This component of the State Services Commission's work on Improving the Quality of Policy Advice investigates how policy agencies develop and maintain high performance in providing quality policy advice. It outlines a developmental model, based on an investigation of the strategies used by a small sample of policy units to enhance their performance.
The model has three key stages that follow a decision to improve the quality of advice: building a foundation, developing people and systems, and maintaining and improving capability. Contextual factors affecting policy performance are also described. The paper sets out possible indicators for each of the stages of the model, which can be used by policy units for self assessment and improvement and by the Commission for capability assurance. Feedback on the usefulness of the paper in practice will be most welcome.