Contestable Policy Fund
What it is and how to get involved with the bidding process for contestable policy projects.
The Civil Service Reform Plan introduced the Ministerial Contestable Policy Fund to give ministers direct access to external policy advice through a centrally managed match fund. Projects funded through this Fund seek to commission high quality advice from outside the civil service on ministers’ priority policy areas; draw directly on the thinking, evidence and insight of external experts; and achieve a potentially broader and more radical range of options than ministers would receive internally.
About the Fund
Ministers can bid directly for funding to commission specific pieces of policy development from external organisations such as think tanks, academic or voluntary organisations. They must match any funding they receive from the Fund with resources from their department. The Fund will run for 3 years, starting in June 2012, and provide funding of £500,000 per year, subject to financial approvals.
Ministers submit applications for external policy advice to the Secretariat for the Fund, run by the Open Policy Making team at the Cabinet Office. Ministers can request funding to match the resources committed to the project by their department, up to a value of £50,000. Applications will be submitted for review to the Minister for Government Policy and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Procurement and project management
If an application is successful, the commissioning minister will oversee the procurement process which will be run according to usual departmental processes. The contractor will report directly to the minister on the basis of its work. The civil service will continue to provide policy advice in parallel to this.
How to get involved
All projects will be procured through departmental processes. External organisations can respond to invitations to tender.
The following projects were part funded by the Ministerial Contestability Policy Fund between June 2012 and June 2015.
|CO||Accountability in the Civil Service||Complete – published|
|BIS||Research into the uses and limitations of metrics and models for performance measurement in decision-making by long-term investors||Complete – published|
|DECC||Green deal consent barriers||Complete – Invitation to Tender (ITT)|
|DWP/DH||Psychological wellbeing and work||Complete – published|
|DECC||Understanding the economic and wider benefits of integrating demand reduction, demand response, and distributed energy||Complete – published|
|DWP||Access to Advocacy||Complete – Contracts Finder|
|DWP||The Local Community Challenge||Complete – Contracts Finder|
|Defra||Maximising revenue sources for English National Park Authorities and AONBs||Complete – Defra Research Projects|
|DCLG/CO||Funded public service pension schemes – the scope for reform||Complete – published|
|DFE||Improving the market for online courses||Complete – published|
|DFE||Improving maths skills in the vocational sector post 16||Complete – published|
|DCLG||Increasing the supply of suitable housing for older people||Complete – Demos announcement|
|CO||Removing blockages to the most talented women succeeding in the Civil Service||Complete – published|
|DfT/CO||General aviation||Complete – published|
|BIS||Business Focus on Enforcement||Ongoing|
|DWP||Assisted Living Products for disabled people||Closed|
|MoJ||Youth Offending Teams review||Complete – published|
|DH||Children and adolescent mental health services: service user engagement||Complete – published|
If you would like further information about the Ministerial Contestable Policy Fund, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published: 19 February 2013
Updated: 22 July 2015
- Updated completed project: Youth Offending Teams review
- Updated projects list.
- Updated with details of projects funded between June 2012 and June 2015.
- Information added on the level of funding and the first use of the Contestable Policy Fund.
- First published.