How joined-up is it, where are there gaps? How involved do you feel?
We regularly hear calls for a more joined-up approach to food across government. But how joined-up is it at the moment? Who is working with who on food-related policy? What role could the proposed national food strategy play?
The FRC’s UK Food Governance project responds to these questions, by exploring how food policy is currently made, how integrated and inclusive it is, and how it might be improved. And we would like to hear your ideas and experiences…
The story so far
We’ve interviewed the key departments working on food-related issues, and identified a significant amount of day-to-day connecting across departments, agencies and levels, and a number of cross-government programmes which involve multiple departments, such as the Childhood Obesity Strategy and the Soft Drinks Levy.
But the research has also highlighted gaps. For example, there is no one department that really ‘owns’ food policy and can give an overview, and no formal mechanisms to connect work on food across government. Our interviewees also raised a range of disconnections and tensions, including lack of connection being made between agriculture and health. Missed opportunities have also been flagged up, such as on sustainable dietary guidelines.
In terms of who is involved in making food policy from outside government, the idea of inclusivity appears to be relatively low on the agenda of departments, though Brexit has been a catalyst for increased engagement. We have also heard about how challenging it is for those outside government to know who is working on what area of food policy, and how access to departments is itself siloed – for example health charities funnelled to Department of Health or Public Health England, or environmental groups to Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs.
Have your say
These are a just taster of our preliminary findings. We would love to supplement them by hearing about your own experiences of UK government food policy. In particular, we’d like to know:
- What is your experience of working on food policy issues which cross multiple departments or government levels?
- What examples are there of cross-government working on food?
- Where do you see the policy disconnects?
- What examples are there of goals or actions in one area of food-related policy impacting negatively on another?
- What missed opportunities are there to link policy better? Where could action in one policy area benefit another?
- How much do you understand how food policy is made? How have you been involved, and how would you like to be involved in the future?
- How could the proposed national food strategy address these issues?
Please get in touch with the research lead Kelly Parsons – Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org.