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Forward Strategy Unit

Volume 401: debated on Wednesday 19 March 2003

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To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many people work in the Forward Strategy Unit; what issues it is looking at; what its running costs were in (a) 2002–03 and (b) 2003–04; and if he will make a statement.[99884]

The (Prime Minister's) Forward Strategy Unit is no longer in operation. In June 2002 it was merged with the Performance and Innovation Unit (PIU) and the Policy Studies Directorate of the Centre for Management and Policy Studies (CMPS), to create the Strategy Unit (SU).The staffing of the Strategy Unit varies according to its work programme. It is currently around 90 full-time equivalents.The Strategy Unit carries out long-term strategic reviews and policy analysis, which can take several forms:

long-term strategic reviews of major areas oft policy;
studies of cross-cutting policy issues;
strategic audit; and
working with departments to promote strategic thinking and improve policy making across Whitehall.

The unit is also leading on work to maintain the quality and standards of government social research.

Current Strategy Unit projects include:

Ethnic minorities and the labour market;
Alcohol harm reduction;
Costs and benefits of GM crops;
Local Government in the future;
Drugs (jointly with the Home Office).

There are more details of the unit's past and present work on its website:

  • (a)The estimated out-turn for the Strategy Unit's running costs in 2002–03 is £6,966,000.
  • (b) Budgets have yet to be set for 2003–04.