Five things you don’t want to miss at this year’s Policy Festival

From artificial intelligence to devolution, this year’s Policy Festival offers a bit of everything
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By Policy Profession

07 Sep 2023

The Policy Festival 2023 is taking place from the 18 to 28 September. With a variety of virtual, in-person and interactive sessions, the festival is a unique platform for all civil servants – not just policy professionals - to immerse themselves in the latest trends, engage with experts and build a broader perspective on current policy issues.

You can find the full programme of events and how to book on the Policy Festival website, and here is our pick of the top 5 things you don’t want to miss:

1. How to harness the power of AI

The AI revolution is reshaping industries across the globe, and policy making is no different. It is becoming increasingly important for policy professionals to understand the implications of these technological advancements for their work. So how can policy makers prepare to lead in the age of AI?

The session ‘Preparing UK policy makers for the age of AI’, led by government social learning network Apolitical, will highlight key questions, challenges and opportunities for policy makers in the UK civil service. Whether it's harnessing the potential of AI for more efficient governance or addressing the ethical considerations of emerging technologies, this event will cover the latest advice on staying tech-savvy.

The session takes place from 13:00-14:00 on Monday 18 September. Predicted to be the most popular event, over 1,500 people have already signed up for this event – so book your place now!

2. Learning all about what ministers want

As civil servants we support the government of the day and are accountable to ministers, but do we really know what our ministers want or need from us?

Join us in collaboration with The Institute for Government, a leading independent think tank, to hear from former ministers, a private secretary and a researcher all about how to work effectively with ministers. Attendees will also have a unique opportunity to pose their questions directly to former ministers.

This session takes place from 13:00-14:00 on Wednesday 20 September. Join over 1,000 other civil servants who have already signed up.

3. Getting insider expertise on devolution

Over the last 30 years, devolution in the United Kingdom has brought about significant changes in the distribution of powers and responsibilities from the central government to regional governments and assemblies.

In this virtual event, you will hear from experienced policy makers across the four governments of the UK about the current challenges and opportunities of delivering policy in our multi-level system of government.

The session ‘Spotlight on Devolution’ will take place from 10:00-11:00 on Thursday 21 September.

4. How to bridge the gap between analysis and policy

Commissioning, understanding and using data and evidence is an integral part of any policy making process. The Policy Festival is hosting two events which will reflect on the importance and contribution of analysis and data in underpinning policy.

‘Church and State: Removing the artificial separation of policy and analysis’, taking place from 15:00-16:00 on Tuesday 19 September, will reflect on the artificial barriers between analysis and policy making and examples of how to tackle this. A second panel, ‘Analysis at the heart of policy making’ chaired by the UK’s National Statistician, Sir Ian Diamond, will hear senior leaders from across government reflect on their experience on the use of analysis in informing policy.

5. Building your network

Policy making is a team sport. As a policy professional, growing your network helps to share knowledge, leverage collective expertise and amplify impact. This year’s festival brings a multitude of in-person events across the UK focused on many newly launched regional policy networks who are aiming to do exactly that.

  • ‘Spotlight on…Leeds Health and Social Care Hub: The Art of the Possible’ (10:00-11:00 on 20 September)
  • ‘Spotlight on…Northern Networks: Creating communities for policy professionals’ (15:00-16:00 on 25 September)
  • ‘North West Policy Pathway networking event’ (14:00-16:00 on 20 September)
  • ‘Building Talent Together: Sheffield Policy Campus model’ (15:00-16:00 on 20 September).
  • ‘Northern Ireland: Delivering through collaboration’ (09:30-12:15 on 25 September)
  • ‘Growing policy capability in Welsh government’ (13:30-14:30 on 27 September)

Spot mentoring opportunities

If these events aren’t enough to grab your interest, the festival is also organising ‘spot mentoring’ opportunities, where you can schedule a 30-minute mentoring session with a senior policy professional to talk about your professional development and career goals in the profession. Slots are limited though, so sign up whilst you can.

You can find the full programme of events and how to book at the Policy Festival website.




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