Abstracts: January 21st, 2004

A panel was set up in the Strategy Unit in 2001 to distil the experience of pilot trials for potential policy changes. This report summarises the findings of the panel. The recommendations add up to a strong endorsement of the case for piloting new policy initiatives. They provide enthusiastic support for the fact that the practice is now being embraced so widely across government. The report recognizes that some pilots are costly and timeconsuming, but the overall benefits they provide to good governance far outweigh their disadvantages.Pilots fulfil an important defensive role in guarding against the inclusion of embarrassing, often expensive and preventable mistakes into new policy initiatives. They also play a highly constructive role in promoting innovation and in helping to fine-tune policies and their delivery mechanisms in advance of their national roll-out. In short, policy pilots have become an indispensable tool of modern government. The report recognizes that, excellent though some practice already is, there is still a long way to go before this will be uniformly true across all administrations and departments . A great deal of practice still falls far short of its potential.

Published by the Prime Minister’s Office.