Keywords: policy-making, science and technology, policy networks, epistemic communities, technocracy, the state
Technocratic policy partnerships: a new descriptor for public administration?
This paper deals broadly with the issue of public policy-making in the United Kingdom, and more particularly with the issue of the transfer and application of scientific or technical expertise into policy decision-making. It is argued that it is increasingly the case that "expert knowledge" is the driving force, or even the initiator, of new policy. However, public policy decisions remain political choices. Thus, this paper will argue that although there is a relationship between policy makers and cohorts of policy specialists, specialist knowledge is only incorporated insofar as it can fit within an existing framework of acceptable government action. The relationship is thus two-way, where certain expert knowledge as well as government ideology will inform the understanding of both the nature of the policy problem and the policy options available for its solution. The central argument then is that policy-making is a political process, which thus does not necessarily synthesise the best advice into a legislative solution.