Public service losing its ability to provide policy advice, former top bureaucrat says

A good article by Kathryn May of the Ottawa Citizen on Mel Cappe’s upcoming Public Policy Forum speech. Thoughtful remarks on the decreased demand for policy advice and reduced role of the public service. Reinforces points in my book. Quote:

“The issue isn’t whether advice is followed or not but whether public servants can prepare the work they need for ministers to make decisions … Let the minister choose whether to take or ignore the advice, but they should hear it. Let the minister choose to ignore the evidence, but don’t allow them not to have the evidence in front of them.

“I never expected my advice to be followed, but it was heard, listened to and taken into account. When the government did what it thought was politically the right thing to do and I was heard, I was successful whether they followed my advice or not. But if public servants don’t get heard, it’s not a good thing for the country.”

Public service losing its ability to provide policy advice, former top bureaucrat says

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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