About us

The Policy Profession is an informal network for civil servants who work in, or are involved with, the formation of policy for government.

The policy profession is one of the Civil Service professions. There are approximately 18,400 people who identify themselves as working in policy roles across the Civil Service. There are thousands of other civil servants in related professions (such as law and economics) who are involved in policymaking.

We are developing cross-government policy capability to enable:

  • better development and use of a sound evidence base
  • better understanding and management of the political context
  • better planning and clarity, right from the outset, as to how the policy will be delivered

Policy profession standards

The policy profession standards Policy profession standards: a framework for professional development (PDF, 619KB, 22 pages) cover 18 areas of skill and knowledge under 3 themes: evidence; politics; and delivery. The standards articulate these skill areas at 3 levels of capability. These aim to enable people to:

  • level 1: attain and demonstrate the broad working level knowledge across all 18 policy skill areas
  • level 2: progress from awareness and knowledge to be a skilled practitioner in a selection of policy skill areas
  • level 3: progress to being a skilled leader of policy portfolios, with depth of expertise

Policy professional development framework

The Policy professional development framework Policy professional development framework (PDF, 508KB, 1 page) is a career progression map for policy advisers in government. It provides a potential model for assessing the skills and capabilities of policy advisers against the policy profession standards at 3 levels:

  • level 1 (from entry level, suitable for those developing their knowledge and policy skills)
  • level 2 (practitioner level, for more experienced policy practitioners)
  • level 3 (policy leaders)

The assessment models set out in the pathway are currently under development. We ran a pilot from late 2016 to early 2017 to test the assessment methods; this was independently evaluated by the Institute for Government (IfG). We are currently planning a second pilot to take place in 2018 that will incorporate the IfG recommendations.