The Ministry of Justice is launching its first "policy fellowship" for candidates outside the department to help deliver its reform programme, it has been announced.
The fellowship scheme is aimed at bringing in outside experts to help influence and deliver MoJ policy decisions.
According to the MoJ, the policy fellows will “provide ‘hands-on’ support and constructive challenge to policy teams, helping them find innovative solutions to complex policy problems”.
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The Department for Education was the first department to run such a programme, launching its ‘Fellowship of Experts’ in 2013. The DFE's former secretary of state Michael Gove is now in charge at the Ministry of Justice.
The DfE's first cohort of policy fellows included Jonathan Clifton from the IPPR think tank, former GlaxoSmithKline IT chief Anton Collyer, and Dr Paul Cappon of the Canadian Council of Learning. The department has since launched a drive for a second round of policy fellows.
The decision to introduce external policy experts was based on a 2011 report by independent think tank the Institute for Government (IfG), which recommended departments “use external expertise to enhance and challenge in-house policy-making”.
IfG programme director Jill Rutter welcomed the announcement, saying the fellowship could benefit both the department and fellows.
She said: "It is interesting to see that Michael Gove has transferred the policy fellow idea from DfE to MoJ. Our research on policy-making suggested that moves like this – to bring outsiders into policy and improve connections between policy makers, practitioners and academics – has potential benefits for both sides."
The MoJ fellowship is open to anyone from academia, local or national government and the not-for-profit or private sectors. Fellowships range from one day a week for three to six months to a full-time 18 month secondment.