Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Policy

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 27 September 2023.

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Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps they are taking to help ensure that their Department (a) gives sufficient attention to long term strategic challenges, (b) does not allow current events to slow down work on long term strategic issues and (c) consistently undertakes horizon scanning.

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which minister in their Department is responsible for overseeing work on long term strategic challenges; and how many officials work in roles focused on horizon scanning and long term priorities.

Photo of Mark Spencer Mark Spencer The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Liaison Committee recently launched an inquiry into select committee scrutiny of strategic thinking across Whitehall. The Government will be providing written evidence to this in due course.

Defra has an overall Strategy Group which works on horizon scanning and long-term strategic coherence through internal business planning, resilience, risk and capability work. This function also exists and is prioritised within the Chief Scientist’s office and individual policy areas, such as climate adaptation, food security and water policy. The majority of Defra officials contribute to Defra’s coherent strategic picture.

Under Rishi Sunak, this Conservative Government will always look to make the right long-term decisions for the country.

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