Responsibility for food policy within English government involves 16 different departments. In the first study of its kind, Dr Kelly Parsons identifies each department, locating where government food policy is shaped and conducted in England. It clearly demonstrates the complexity of governance influencing the food system and what we eat.
Produced as the first instalment of the ‘Rethinking Food Governance’ series, the report reveals many factors, such as size, structure, goals, responsibilities, key activities, relationships to Local Authorities and devolved administrations for each government actor. Revealing this information helps all actors in the food system to interact, or spot opportunities and levers for policy change.
Relevance of the findings took heightened importance under the Covid-19 pandemic. Government reactions to food supply issues exposed how increased coordination could aid responses and build trust in times of crisis, both now and in the future.
Key information from the report has been used to develop a guidance note specifically tackling government responses to Covid-19, aimed at increasing the resilience of food systems. It proposes a cross-government committee which could help effectively address issues of both supply and demand in the food chain, whilst also addressing the multiple dimensions of the UK food system.