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Liberal Democrat party policy-making in coalition - a Social Liberal Forum review

Liberal Democrat party policy-making in coalition - a Social Liberal Forum review

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Published by Prateek Buch
A review of the policy-making process within the Liberal Democrat party, conducted by the Social Liberal Forum
A review of the policy-making process within the Liberal Democrat party, conducted by the Social Liberal Forum

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Published by: Prateek Buch on Aug 31, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/27/2013

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Liberal Democrat partypolicy-makingin coalition
A review by the Social Liberal Forum 
Dr David Hall-Matthews with Dr Prateek Buch 
 
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Liberal Democrat party policy-making incoalition
 A review by the Social Liberal ForumDr David Hall-Matthews with Dr Prateek Buch
AcknowledgementsThe Social Liberal Forum would like to thank the JosephRowntree Reform Trust Ltd for their support in publishing thispamphlet.ContentsExecutiveSummary 2Introduction 5Liberal Democrat contributionto government policy 10Parliamentary Party Committees 13Federal Policy Committee 14LibDem HQ– Policy Research Unit 15Federal Conference 16Local, regional and devolved government 18Members and internal party organisations 18Social Liberal Forum 19Conclusion 20
 
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ExecutiveSummaryLiberal Democrat policy-making has always been more careful,robust and democratic than that of other political parties.However, the experience of being in government as a juniorcoalition partner has made it more difficult to maintain thisproud record, forseveral reasons:
Senior parliamentarians are now focused ongovernment policy, which is not the same as partypolicy, because it necessarily involves compromise witha rival political party.
The partys policy research capacity has beendevastated by the loss of Short money, without beingreplaced by access to civil service support in most policy areas.
The need for both speed and behind-the scenesnegotiation in government business has leddepressingly quickly to the sidelining by ministers of the deliberations of Federal Conference and to a lesserextent theFederal Policy Committee.
Parliamentary party committees do not yet have thecapacity, confidence or unity of purpose to develop andpublicise new, forward-looking party policy, in parallelto government.
The weakening of the party's councillor and activisbase, following significant reverses in successiveroundsof elections, leaves policy-making in the hands of fewer,increasingly Westminster-based, committees,Parliamentarians and theirstaff.This has led to severe strains in the party’s capacity to make,refine and advertise new, independent policy, with theconsequences that:

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