Policy Lab

… a core concept used in Implementation and Delivery and Atlas107

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Concept description

The Policy Lab is described by the UK Government (reference below, link on right) as follows:

“Policy Lab is bringing new policy techniques to the departments across the civil service, helping design services around people’s experience, using data analytics and new digital tools.”

About Policy Lab

The website goes on to say:

“Policy Lab brings people-centred design approaches to policy-making. We provide policy teams with practical support to better understand the people they are trying to reach, and work with them to co-design new solutions.

“We were set up in 2014 as part of the Civil Service Reform plan to make policy making more open. We’re a small team – currently of 9 – a mix of designers, researchers and policy-makers. But we also work with a wide network of experts who we bring in on different projects.

“We use design, data and digital tools and act as a testing ground for policy innovation across government. Our support is best suited to tackling intractable, complex, systemic policy problems that require fresh thinking and can lead to potentially transformative solutions. We sit in the Cabinet Office but serve the whole of government, primarily responding to requests from policy teams.

“We don’t have a physical Lab and we don’t wear white coats. But our co-design approach and the suite of tools and techniques we’ve developed over time help create a neutral space where ideas can flourish. This space allows for collaboration across departments, with external experts and with the public.

“We work at three levels:

  • delivering new policy solutions through inspiring practical projects
  • building the skills and knowledge of the policy profession and wider civil service
  • inspiring new thinking through our writing and experiments

“So far, we’ve worked on over 20 large projects across a range of policy areas including policing, housing, health & work and childcare. Over 5,500 civil servants have taken part in those projects, lab lights, sprints and training sessions. Many more from in and outside government follow us on Twitter (@policylabuk), read this blog and use our open policy making toolkit.”

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Promoting Innovation and Driving Change (core topic) in Implementation and Delivery and Atlas107


UK Gov, Policy Lab, at https://openpolicy.blog.gov.uk/category/policy-lab/, accessed 19 October 2017.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 19 October 2017.

Image: UK Gov, Policy Lab, at https://openpolicy.blog.gov.uk/category/policy-lab/, accessed 19 October 2017.