Select Committee on Public Administration Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex A


1.  Consultation Process

  (a)  Public invitation

  Purpose:  To give those within and outside defence the opportunity to make their views known to those conducting the Strategic Defence Review (SDR).

  Method:  The Secretary of State invited everyone who wished to contribute to the Review to put forward their ideas at the launch of the SDR on 28 May 1997.

  Response level:  Over 570 submissions were received. Each submission was analysed to record the subjects of concern, and circulated to the appropriate working groups for consideration. 486 authors consented to having their submissions made public. These were placed in the Libraries of the House and provided on microfiche to 12 public libraries across the United Kingdom.

  Outcomes:  Views were considered and were fed into the working groups undertaking the Review.

  (b)  Seminars

  Purpose:  To bring together a wide range of people with an interest in defence issues to contribute to the development of Government policy.

  Method:  The Secretary of State and Ministers of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office jointly hosted three seminars to contribute to the Strategic Defence Review to which a wide range of academics, journalists, opposition MPs and members of non-governmental organisations were invited.

  Response level:  Over 70 academics, journalists, opposition MPs and members of non-governmental organisations attended.

  Outcomes:  The views expressed offered encouragement to thinking already being developed within the MOD and also opened up new areas of consideration. Summaries of each seminar were placed in the Libraries of the House and published on the Ministry of Defence website. The assessment of the submissions and the seminars formed part of the Strategic Defence Review White Paper (Cm 3999) and the Strategic Defence Review Supporting Essays. Both documents were also published on the Ministry of Defence website.

2.  Ways in which decision-making processes have been adapted to take account of public participation

  We are currently considering ways in which we may involve defence experts and academics from outside the Ministry of Defence in our strategic planning process and other areas where they may inform the policy-making process.

3.  Lessons learned regarding good (and bad) practice in consultation

  The good practice we have learned is to ensure that all organisations which may have an interest are included in the consultation. We are considering the best practice in how to engage those who have a substantial contribution as effectively as possible. Details of the SDR process were published in one of the Supporting Essays, a copy of which is enclosed for the Committee.

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