Strategic Capacity


Does the government regularly take into account advice from non-governmental experts during decision-making?

In almost all cases, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
Canadian government departments and agencies effectively tap into expertise of academics and other experts outside the government in multiple ways. Many government departments and agencies have advisory committees, which can have considerable influence but rarely a dominant role in policymaking.

Most recently, in response to COVID-19, such expert counsel has become more prominent. The federal government has struck an Industry Strategy Council tasked with advising on economic growth and competitiveness. Also established has been the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force to advise on vaccine candidates and development, especially since the country lacks domestic supply. Moreover, the existing National Advisory Committee on Immunization has played a critical role throughout the pandemic. Mona Nemer, named Canada’s new Chief Science Adviser in September 2017, continues to provide advice on issues related to science and government policies that support it, including evidence-based decision-making and open government science fully available to the public.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development 2020. “Minister Bains announces new Industry Strategy Council,” 8 May 2020,

National Research Council Canada. “COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force,” 22 September 2020,

Office of the Chief Science Adviser of Canada, Annual Report of the Chief Science Adviser of Canada, 2020,
For major political projects, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
Technocratic institutions and practices play an important role in government decision-making. Experts from academia, NGOs, partisan think tanks and the private sector are very influential in the preparation of government (presidential) programs and the development of policy-reform proposals by presidential or ministerial technical commissions. These technical commissions, which are charged with proposing policy reforms in specific areas (education, pension, social and wage policies, minimum wage policy, fiscal rule, etc.) or for singular policy challenges (e.g., corruption), tend to have significant impact on government legislation. Commissions are largely comprised of experts, and to a minor extent of representatives of interested parties, and cover a wide political spectrum. This kind of technical input into the policymaking process belongs to the technocratic tradition in Chilean politics. As a political practice, this can be described as institutionalized, as both the former and the current party coalition followed this tradition. The main policies of government programs tend to be elaborated and accompanied by expert commissions. Some reform initiatives in the education and environmental sectors, for example, have been accelerated or even blocked due to ideological differences within the commissions dealing with the issue. Experts (economists and lawyers in particular) are a key factor in drafting the reform proposals submitted to the president or to ministers.
Denmark’s political administration draws to some extent on in-house expertise. For most policy areas, however, policymakers rely on advising councils or expert committees. On a more permanent basis, the Danish Economic Council plays an important role as an independent institution, as politicians heed its recommendations. Since 2007, the number of chairmen of
the Economic Council have increased from three to four and the responsibilities of the chairmen (independent experts) have been expanded. They now also head the Environmental Economic Council and the productivity council (meeting EU requirements), and act as the fiscal watchdog (related to the Budget Law). The chairmen prepare reports that are then discussed by members representing unions, employers, independent experts, the central bank and the government. The reports typically garner media attention. The chairs are non-partisan and usually serve for several years before returning to academia.
Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen, Peter Munck Christiansen og Marius Ibsen, Politik og forvaltning. 3. udgave. Copenhagen: Hans Reitzels Forlag, 2011.

Website of the Danish Economic Councils: (accessed 20 April 2013).

Det Økonomiske Råd 1962-2012 – Et jubilæumsskrift, De Økonomiske Råd, København.
New Zealand
In terms of frequency and intensity of policy advice, the relevance of external academic experts for governmental policymaking depends on the subject area. Non-governmental academics with technical expertise can have a significant role in policy areas such as health, energy, social affairs and tertiary education. The Labour government has since 2017 considerably increased the number of policy design working groups. Notable examples include the Tax Working Group, the Welfare Expert Advisory Group, the 2018 Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry, the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care, the Curriculum Advisory Group, and the Health and Disability System Review. The Zero Carbon Act established the Climate Change Commission, which – among its other functions – advises the government on how to reduce New Zealand’s carbon emissions to the net zero level by 2050. The Pandemic Influenza Technical Advisory Group has played an important role in informing the government’s COVID-19 response.

However, while the number of expert groups has increased, the Labour-led coalition government has also been criticized for ignoring advice provided by some of these groups. For example, Prime Minister Ardern has ruled out implementing a capital gains tax – one of the key recommendations made by the Tax Working Group (Wells 2019). Similarly, the government has been accused of failing to follow the policy roadmap set out by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (Carroll 2021), and has been criticized for not listening to Māori experts or including systematic gender analyses in its budget policies (Greaves, 2021; Curtin et al, 2021). That said, significant changes are underway as a result of the health system review, and the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission was launched in February 2021 as a direct outcome of the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry.
Carroll (2021) “Government accused of failing to follow roadmap from welfare expert group.” Stuff.

Curtin et al (2021). The Conversation, 21 May 2021

Greaves (2021) “Māori experts have been all but invisible in the government Covid-19 response. Why?” The Spinoff.

Wells (2019) “PM Jacinda Ardern has ruled out implementing a Capital Gains Tax while she is at the helm of Labour.” New Zealand Herald.
There is a significant degree of academic influence on policymaking in Norway. Economic and social research are mobilized to develop so-called knowledge-based policies. Academics are regularly involved in government-appointed committees for the preparation of legislation. On a more informal level, various departments regularly consult academic experts from a range of academic disciplines. Academics are active in public debate and their views often prompt replies and comments from senior politicians. Increasingly, the parliament also arranges hearings, and invites experts to provide advice and recommendations.
Overall, the government department staff solicits advice or other contacts with external actors less frequently than in the past. Communication is today managed in detail and there are disincentives to open up to external actors at sensitive stages of the policy process. Having said that, the recent pandemic crisis has highlighted Sweden’s high policy capacity and reliance on expert knowledge for its policy response (Petridou, 2020; Zahariadis et al, 2021). Notably, the Coronavirus Commission consisted overwhelmingly of academics (Coronakommissionen, 2021).
Coronakommissionen. 2021. “Delbetänkande 2: Sverige under pandemi.” SOU 2021:89.

Petridou, Evangelia. 2020. “Politics and Administration in Times of Crisis: Explaining the Swedish Response to the COVID-19 Crisis.” European Policy Analysis, 6(2), 147-158.

Zahariadis, Nikolaos, Evangelia Petridou, Theofanis Exadaktylos, and Jörgen Sparf. 2021. “Policy Styles and Political Trust in Europe’s National Responses to the Covid-19 Crisis.” Policy Studies: 1-22.
In the Swiss political system, the drafting of bills takes place primarily within extra-parliamentary and parliamentary committees. As of November 2019, 116 of these extra-parliamentary committees existed, with government-selected members that included academics, representatives of interest groups and parties, individuals with particular expertise and other such experts. While there are multiple criteria for selecting members, the government seeks a balanced representation of language groups, political parties and ideologies and other societal interests. Academics are selected on the basis of academic profile, but their allegiance to political parties or other societal interests may also be taken into account.

In December 2018, the Federal Council decided to reduce the number of committees by 13, but also to create two new committees.

Thus, while expert commissions and their members do have a dominant influence on governmental decision-making, the influence of academics per se is much more limited than is the influence of the politically constituted groups as a whole. In addition, the share of academics on these committees is rather limited, amounting to about 11% of all seats. However, the combined total of academics and high-level federal and canton civil servants (who usually have academic training) accounts for about half of all commission seats.

In Switzerland, public policies are regularly assessed by evaluators who have had academic training. According to a 2016 study by Pleger et al., about 50% of these evaluators felt influenced or pressured by stakeholders; about the same level as in the United States, but considerably less than in Germany and the United Kingdom (about 80%).

This finding underscores the importance of evaluations for policymaking. A 2017 large-scale cooperative research project by Sager et al. concluded that policy evaluations not only play an important role for policymaking in the executive-administrative nexus but also contribute to decision-making in parliament and to a lesser degree in direct-democratic decision-making.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the reliance on evaluation rather than organized expertise in external committees proved to be problematic. While the government established the Science Covid Task Force, it did not know how to handle the advice it received from the Science Task Force. It was evident that Swiss politics lacked a routine for integrating scientific advice into policymaking while pressure. This lack of routine culminated in the SVP’s proposal to prohibit the Science Task Force from issuing public statements about the pandemic. Nevertheless, while the parliament rejected the proposal, it is evidence of the bumps in the science-policy interface that Switzerland will need to address in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis (Hadorn et al. 2022; Sager et al. 2022). While Switzerland was arguable successful in dealing with the crisis, this was not due to a smooth exchange between science and politics.
Hadorn, Susanne, Fritz Sager, Céline Mavrot, Anna Malandrino, Jörn Ege (2022). Evidence-based Policymaking in Times of Acute Crisis: Comparing the Use of Scientific Knowledge in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Politische Vierteljahresschrift: forthcoming.

Lyn Pleger, Fritz Sager, Michael Morris, Wolfgang Meyer, and Reinhard Stockmann 2016: Are Some Countries More Prone to Pressure Evaluators Than Others? Comparing Findings from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland, American Journal of Evaluation, DOI: 10.1177/1098214016662907

Sager, Fritz (2017). “Evaluation and democracy: do they fit?” Evaluation and Program Planning.

Sager, Fritz, Thomas Widmer und Andreas Balthasar (Hg.) (2017). Evaluation im politischen System der Schweiz – Entwicklung, Bedeutung und Wechselwirkungen. Zürich: NZZ Verlag, Reihe „Politik und Gesellschaft in der Schweiz“.

Sager, Fritz, Céline Mavrot, Johanna Hornung (2022). Wissenschaftliche Politikberatungssysteme in der Covid-19-Krise: Die Schweiz im Vergleich mit Deutschland, Italien, Frankreich und Grossbritannien. Bern: Untersuchung im Auftrag der Schweizerischen Bundeskanzlei.
The extent and impact of academic consultation is framed by the overall pattern of government decision-making. Limited strategic capacity in the center and a tendency to pass policy-formulation initiatives to the line ministries makes the overall picture fragmented. The final reports of the research projects are made publicly available on the websites of the governmental institutions that requested the study. However, the majority of the studies are commissioned simply to obtain overviews of problems or provide evidence for the government’s standpoints.

Other forms of non-governmental expert consultations (e.g., roundtable discussions and workshops) are rather widespread. In preparing the long-term “Estonia 2035” strategy, experts and opinion leaders have been regularly engaged, while the relevant website enables interested citizens to participate in and interact with developing the strategy. However, these events are often held pro forma and do not lead to effective policy change.
The government predominately organizes the collection of scholarly advice informally, for example, by consulting scientific experts on committee report drafts. Some formal bodies, such as temporary working groups, ad hoc committees and permanent councils, also exist. In general, various permanent and non-permanent committees play an important role in structuring scholarly advice in government decision-making. An example of a permanent group that advises the government and ministries in research and technology matters is the Research and Innovation Council. A government resolution on a comprehensive reform of state research institutes and research funding, which aims to make the use of sectoral research in governmental decision-making more efficient and focused, was adopted in 2013, and implemented between 2014 and 2017. The Prime Minister’s Office makes a yearly plan for realizing strategic research objectives and calls for the systemic use of research projects and data for decision-making, steering and operating procedures. Projects under the government’s strategic research goals are managed by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland. The PMO appointed a scientific expert panel to study the effect of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.
In almost all policy fields, expert commissions advise policymakers on a regular basis. Most of their members are appointed by the government or by individual ministries. The Bundestag also consults regularly with non-governmental experts, which can involve regular expert hearings on specific topics as well as commissions of enquiry (Enquetekommission) on broader issues that continue for several years.
In addition, ad hoc commissions are often created to provide scientific input on major reforms involving complex issues and thus help build consensus. In sum, there are plenty of established and ad hoc expert advisory bodies providing the government expertise and advice. These include, for example, the German Council of Economic Experts (Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der Gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung), the German Advisory Council on the Environment (Sachverständigenrat für Umweltfragen) and the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation (Expertenkommission Forschung und Innovation), all of which produce regular reports on current policy issues (Siefken 2019).

In addition, most ministries maintain external, academic or legal advisory bodies. However, the impact of experts often has little visibility, and policymaking is also heavily influenced by party positions. Nevertheless, while advisory reports do not always have an immediate impact, they do have some influence on political debates within the government, the parliament and among the general public, because they are made publicly accessible.

Experts have played a much more influential role in decision-making during the pandemic. The federal and state governments’ decision-making processes have been based on input from scientists and in particular the expertise of the Robert Koch Institut (RKI). The government has also closely monitored objective data on the dynamics of the pandemic when making its decisions. The German Ethics Council attracted considerable attention for its statements regarding the ethical tradeoffs associated with pandemic policies, who was to be prioritized during the vaccine rollout and, more recently, the issue of obligatory vaccinations. Another important body for the sciences and healthcare, particularly in the context of the pandemic, is the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. However, some have criticized the Leopoldina, stating that it had delivered its recommendations “on the government’s order” by justifying lockdown measures (Hirschi 2021).

Summing up, scholarly advice is widely available, but political considerations often dominate legislative and executive decision-making. In addition, the engagement of expert commissions or other sources of advice is sometimes used as a means of postponing decisions rather than as a true decision-making aid. However, during the pandemic, the role of experts and their impact on policymaking has increased significantly.
Hirschi, Caspar (2021): Weder wissenschaftlich noch demokratisch legitimiert, in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 19.03.2021, p. 11

Siefken, Sven T. (2019): Expertenkommissionen der Bundesregierung, in: Falk, Svenja et al. (eds), Handbuch Politikberatung, Berlin, p. 145-161
Following the change in government in 2019 and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, non-governmental expertise was upgraded in the early stages of decision-making. For instance, in 2020, a committee of economists under the Greek-Cypriot Nobel prize winner in economics C. Pissarides devised the Plan for the Development of the Greek Economy, which included economic policy recommendations. Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government convened two expert committees, the Committee of Epidemiologists and the National Committee on Vaccinations, and continuously consulted with them in the period under review. This development was a vast improvement over past practices.

In the past, most of the ad hoc committees, staffed by academic experts, were formed by ministers for their own sake, not by the prime minister. Qualified academics often served as experts within ministries, where they also acted as administrative elites in Greece’s highly politicized civil service.

Moreover, in the period under review, the New Democracy government attracted a comparatively large number of qualified experts in a variety of policymaking sectors. Some of these individuals had acquired their expertise and job experience in the private sector, while others had worked in Greek and foreign universities. Previous connections to New Democracy proved largely irrelevant to the hiring decisions. This was an improvement over the past, when experts had often been recruited primarily on the grounds of their loyalty to the governing party.
The “Pissarides Plan” is available in Greek at:
The government has several means of interacting with experts and academics, which are generally guided by the Instructions for Public Participation Guide (PMO 2017). Overall, experts can sit on independent public committees to examine the causes and consequences of a specific event or incident. They can also serve in permanent committees that consult with the government on a regular basis, such as the National Economic Council in the PMO, or be summoned by parliamentary committees to present opinions or to offer a different perspective on a certain issue. In addition, think tanks and research institutes act as brokers between the academic world and politics, advocating and offering information on current events and policy issues. A recent example is the national plan for climate change adaptation. As part of planning for the implementation of this plan in 2019 – 2020, the government sought advice from various experts and NGOs.

On security and other issues such as foreign policy, the government tends to consult experts from the military rather than academics. Ministers often appoint an external advisory committee to assist with specific issues, and also often consult informally with academic experts, primarily to receive guidance that is not influenced by political interests. In addition, the government consults with professionals via policy-planning roundtables, digital forums and Q&A platforms.
Blockchain Technology Takes Hold in Israel: Expert Take, Cointelegraph, 2018 (Hebrew):

“Conclusions of the committee for the examination of the fiscal policy with respect to oil and gas resources in Israel,” State of Israel official publication, 2011 (Hebrew):

Hever, Shir, “The Privatization of Security,” 2012, Van Leer Institute

OECD (2015), “Scientific Advice for Policy Making: The Role and Responsibility of Expert Bodies and Individual Scientists,” OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papers, No. 21, OECD Publishing, Paris.

Government decision number 2025 on rural development, 2015 (Hebrew):

Government Decision number 4079, “Israel’s preparations for adaptation to climate change: implementation of the recommendations to the government for a strategy and a national action plan,” 2018 (Hebrew):

PMO Office 2017, Instructions for Public Participation, 2017 (Hebrew):

The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change Adaptation plan, 2019,
Publicly funded research in Luxembourg has developed considerably in recent years. Nowadays, the public research environment is concentrated in Belval, where the University of Luxembourg (founded in 2003), with its three interdisciplinary centers – the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT), the Luxembourg Center for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB), and the Luxembourg Center for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH), is based. Several other specialized research centers also exist, including the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), the Luxembourg Institute of Socioeconomic Research (LISER), the Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg (IBBL) and the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law. The Luxinnovation and the National Research Fund (FNR) are located on the site.

For major policy reform projects, the government mostly consults highly reputable institutions abroad. This has the advantage that scholarly advice from institutions abroad allows for independent analysis.

Considering the country’s small size, links between government and national research facilities are strong. The University of Luxembourg took part in designing and operating the Luxembourg’s brand-new supercomputer, MeluXina (inaugurated in June 2021). To contribute to the fight against COVID-19, Research Luxembourg (a consortium consisting of the University of Luxembourg, LIH, LISER, LIST, FNR and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research) launched a national COVID-19 platform to coordinate research projects and collaborations.
“COVID-19 taskforce: New national platform, FNR Call in the making.” University of Luxembourg. (2020). Accessed 14 January 2022.

“Third Industrial Revolution Strategy Study for the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.” Accessed 14 January 2022.
There is no formalized connection between the government and external thinking, although university scholars, think tank analysts and practitioners are often consulted by ministries on legal, economic, welfare and international issues – particularly at the beginning of any legislative process to prepare the draft bill and to assess its impact. In 2020 and 2021, the government asked for external advice when engaged in policy design and institutional redesign. For example, several panels of external experts have been established to advise the government on the development of the Strategic Energy and Climate Change Framework, and Law 7/2021 on Climate Change and Energy Transition established an Expert Committee on Climate Change and Energy Transition as an advisory body. In addition, several consultative councils have been established to ensure the participation of civil society groups as well as that of the private sector in the design and implementation of the RRP.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Spanish government relied on the opinions of professionals from different areas as well as on information from the autonomous communities, town councils and government organizations. Four working groups were created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A multidisciplinary working group was set up by the minister of science. The plan to transition to a new normality was prepared by a committee of experts, made up of 15 professionals from different areas. Moreover, the Scientific and Technical Committee was established to advise the government; and a technical group was set up to monitor and evaluate the epidemiological situation in the autonomous communities. There were also expert groups established at the level of autonomous communities. More generally, experts from business interest groups play an important role in the policy process across policy areas, particularly in economic policies and agriculture affairs.
Gobierno de España (2021), Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia

Feás, Enrique; Steinberg, Federico (2021), The climate and energy transition component of the Spanish National Recovery and Resilience Plan, ARI 64/2021 – 6/7/2021

Laura Chaqués & Iván Medina (2021): The representation of business interests during the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain, Revisat Española de Ciencia Política, No. 57, available at
Non-governmental academic experts played an important role in conducting independent reviews of central government policy or strategy during the post-1997 Labour governments. They have worked on the economics of climate change (Sir Nicholas Stern), the future of the pension system (Lord Turner), a review of health trends (Sir Derek Wanless) and fuel poverty (Sir John Hills). Established academics have also served in decision-making bodies such, as the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England since 1997 when the Bank of England was made independent of government. These academics have thus been given substantial influence over core decisions. Most government departments solicit external studies on policy-relevant issues and are supported in doing so by a new Cabinet Office team called Launchpad. The reports are subject to normal procurement rules, typically with a restricted call for tenders.

The coalition government (2010 – 2015) altered the political orientation of the experts consulted by government. A further shift in practice was due to the commitment to what is known as open policymaking (OPM), under which policymakers are called on to actively seek broader inputs into the policymaking process. The traditionally strong influence of think tanks has continued, but those of the left-leaning variety (e.g., the Institute for Public Policy Research and Policy Network) have been replaced by more conservative-minded ones (e.g., the Resolution Foundation and the Center for Policy Studies). The interactions are transparent but occur at various stages of the policymaking process and are often initiated by the think tanks themselves. The emphasis on OPM can be regarded as a change in approach, emphasizing not only evidence-based policymaking, but also helping to identify more appropriate policy solutions. A “what works” team in the Cabinet Office facilitates this process and government departments publish details about their areas of research interest. The Government Office for Science is a unit dedicated to bringing scientific evidence to bear on decision-making. In November 2018, five new business councils, covering major export-sector clusters, were established to advise on how to create the best business conditions in the United Kingdom after Brexit.

There are also many informal channels through which government consults or is briefed by individual academics who have expertise in specific areas. These channels are often more influential than more formal consultation processes. Civil servants are routinely involved in academic events, and benefit from professional policy training and the Trial Advice Panel. The Trial Advice Panel, which consists of experts from within government and academics, supports civil servants to design experimental and quasi-experimental assessments for programs and interventions.

In the negotiation of the EU withdrawal agreement, informal links proliferated, including with think tanks, business interests and academia, but the fundamental political choices were not obviously influenced by expert advice. Attempts by former adviser to the prime minister Dominic Cummings to recruit “weirdos and misfits” to Number 10 jobs in order to increase the diversity of approaches beyond normal civil service areas did not succeed and ended after his dismissal. During the pandemic, the government relied extensively on expert scientific knowledge channeled through the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), a body with many sub-divisions that brings together a range of relevant skills, and works closely with the government’s chief scientific officer and chief medical officer. Nevertheless, criticisms have been voiced about some of the SAGE advice.
The federal government has always made extensive use of scientific and specialist scholarly advice, particularly in areas such as health and medicine, and science and technology.

Since the late 1990s, and particularly since 2007, the federal government has funded a range of specialist centers and institutes aimed at undertaking fundamental research and planning, the findings from which feed into government policy. Examples include government support for regulation and compliance centers at the Australian National University, with the Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet), and the establishment of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, which is a postgraduate faculty set up by the Australian and New Zealand governments, and by the state governments in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

Despite these formal mechanisms, academic influence on government decision-making is relatively limited, particularly in the economic- and social-policy domains. Australian governments accept advice on technical issues, but much less so on political and economic issues. The notable exception is the Productivity Commission, which draws on expert advice when conducting inquiries and reviews.
Due to the fragmented structure of the cabinet, there is no coherent pattern of using scholarly advice. The extent to which each ministry seeks systematic academic advice, and whose advice is being invited, is up to the individual minister.

Economic and financial policy is the only area in which general scholarly advice is easily available and commonly sought. Two institutions established respectively by the social partners (the Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Österreichisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung) and through a mix of public and independent funding (the Institute for Advanced Studies, Institut für Höhere Studien) regularly articulate specific opinions such as economic forecasts. Governments typically take these two institutions’ work into account when making policy. Both institutes have an excellent reputation for academic quality and independence, but are nevertheless structurally (financially) dependent on government actors. Except with respect to immigration and pension policy, there is no regular academic advisory board, as exists in Germany or the United States.

While the period of the ÖVP-FPÖ government was responsible for a relative decline in public and expert consultation regarding new laws and regulations, and with some expert opinions allegedly suppressed by the government to avoid public dissent, the coronavirus pandemic opened up a new chapter in government-expert relations. Not only have scientists become more prominent contributors to the public debate, there have also been important institutional innovations to foster closer exchange between political decision-makers and scientists, such as the COVID-19 Future Operations Platform ( Further, the pandemic prompted a new style of dealing with expert advice, with some ministers revealing to the public who exactly their advisers on contested key decisions were. Overall, the coronavirus pandemic became a historic catalyst for a new era of expert-based governance in Austria. The gesamtstaatliche Covid-Krisenkoordination (Gecko), formed in late 2021, included about 25 senior experts from different disciplines and was designed to play a crucial role in all coronavirus-related policies.
Consultation with non-governmental academic experts depends on the subject matter; their actual influence on eventual decisions is most of the time quite limited, and certainly marginal when compared to the influence of experts who work full-time for the ministers’ or state secretaries’ “cabinet” (or office, see below). The government and/or the parliament do consult full-time academic experts with independent views, but rarely in a systematic way (this is left to the initiative of parliamentary committees), and not necessarily to enable genuine scientific debate. However, in Belgium’s neo-corporatist system, representatives of the social partners (employers’ organizations and trade unions) are systematically summoned for participation when a strategic decision is to be made on socioeconomic issues. In other politically sensitive areas (e.g., tax reform) academic and international expertise has had very limited influence.

The management of the health crisis required a different approach, with new, improvised procedures. The government summoned an advisory group of non-governmental academic experts in virology, epidemiology and economic crisis management, among other fields. They initiated systematic meetings and reports, initially in a chaotic manner. The head of the team has subsequently described how unclear their mission was, and discovered only after the fact that she could potentially be held personally liable for some of the damage created by the COVID-19 crisis. Only in subsequent updates of the group were the procedures and responsibilities clarified.

The multiple iterations of this newfound approach to working with experts led to an alphabet soup of expert groups. These groups were given guidance in their missions and everyday functioning by their respective ministers. At the onset of the crisis, the government activated the National Security Council (NSC), a structure designed to closely monitor and provide advice in the event of major crises and national emergencies. Most relevant were its Risk Assessment Group (RAG) and Risk Management Group (RMG) components, which were combined in an emergency “medical cluster.” To assess the potential economic impact of the epidemic, another NSC expert group, the Economic Risk Management Group (ERMG), was also created. Later on, a fourth expert group was installed, the Group of Experts for the Exit Strategy (GEES), focusing on concrete strategies for exiting the first lockdown. As the idea that the crisis was not temporary became more prevalent, the GEES was replaced by the GEMS: the Group of Experts in Management Strategy, which continues to advise the government with regular reports on the evolution of the public health situation and suggests possible measures that could be taken.
Governments occasionally consult academic experts. Typically, these experts are trained lawyers who provide advice on the preparation of specific laws or public administration practices, but economic and engineering experts have also been consulted. These experts are quite often affiliated with the political party of the minister seeking their advice. Meanwhile, some independent experts without party affiliation have noticed that their views are ignored. Thus, impartial, non-governmental experts do not have a strong influence on decision-making.

However, the 2008 economic collapse changed this pattern. The need for scholarly advice on judicial, financial, and economic issues, as well as on questions of public administration, increased markedly. This was particularly the case with the April 2010 parliamentary Special Investigation Committee (SIC, Rannsóknarnefnd Alþingis), which investigated the causes of the economic collapse. A number of experts in various fields – including law, economics, banking, finance, media, psychology, philosophy, political science, and sociology – contributed to the SIC report. While no data exist on the broader use of expert advice in governmental decision-making, the SIC experience may have expanded the role of experts overall.

Foreign experts are occasionally called upon. In 2017, four teams of foreign economists were asked to evaluated Iceland’s monetary policies and prospects.

Academic experts called upon to advise the government are commonly viewed as being politically partisan. This has reduced public confidence in academic expertise in Iceland. According to Gallup, public confidence in the University of Iceland dropped from 90% in early 2008 to below 80% after the 2008 economic collapse and has since remained around 75% in the Gallup polls (74% in 2018 and 2019, and 77% in 2021).
Gallup, Accessed 3 February 2022.
In 2009, Professor Patrick Honohan of Trinity College Dublin was appointed governor of the central bank of Ireland. This marked a break with the tradition that the retiring permanent secretary of the Department of Finance would succeed to the governorship. Following his retirement toward the end of 2015, the government announced the appointment of another academic, Professor Philip Lane of Trinity College Dublin, as his replacement. Following Professor Lane’s appointment as chief economist to the European Central Bank, Professor Lane was replaced as governor of the central bank of Ireland, for a seven-year term starting on 1 September 2019, by Gabriel Makhlouf, a former secretary to the New Zealand Treasury.
The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (FAC) is an independent statutory body, comprising five experts, mainly drawn from academia. It was established in 2011 as part of a wider reform of Ireland’s budgetary procedures. The FAC is required to “independently assess, and comment publicly on, whether the government is meeting its own stated budgetary targets and objectives.” The claim made by then chairman of the council, Professor John McHale of National University of Ireland, Galway, that the 2016 budget violated the rules of the European Union’s Stability and Growth Pact received much publicity. This assertion, however, was quickly withdrawn following a rebuttal by the minister for finance. Nonetheless, the FAC stuck to its criticism of the 2016 budget as being excessively expansionary. Following his retirement, Professor McHale was replaced as chairman of the by Professor Seamus Coffey of University College Cork. The FAC’s criticism of the government’s excessive reliance on financing brought about by buoyant corporate tax revenues in recent budgets at least provoked a commitment by the minister of finance in the 2020 budget to produce a Fiscal Vulnerabilities Scoping Paper, which would examine corporation tax over-performance and policy options aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the public finances.

Academics have regularly held advisory posts in government ministries, including in the Taoiseach’s Office and at the Department of Finance. Advisers meet regularly with ministers but there is no information on the impact on policymaking of the advice proffered. There is no established pattern of open consultations with panels of non-governmental experts and academics, although some ad hoc arrangements have been made from time to time. As above, the government has relied heavily on experts over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the chief medical officer and the National Public Health Emergency Team (Colfer, 2021).
Colfer, B. (2020) Herd‐immunity across intangible borders: Public policy responses to COVID‐19 in Ireland and the UK, European Policy Analysis, 06(02) pp 203-225,;

Academics are active in several recently-formed independent blogs that may have some influence on policy maker. These include:
The Japanese government is assisted by a large number of advisory councils. These are traditionally associated with particular ministries and agencies, with some cross-cutting councils chaired by the prime minister. Such councils are usually composed of private sector representatives, academics, journalists, former civil servants and trade unionists. The question is whether advisory boards truly impact policymaking or whether the executive simply uses them to legitimize extant policy plans. The answer may well vary from case to case. In some instances, LDP-led governments have used outside expertise to overcome opposition to policy changes and reform. Think tanks, most of which operate on a for-profit basis, play only a limited role in terms of influencing national policymaking.

In 2019, powerful Financial Services Minister Taro Aso publicly rejected findings of a Financial Services Agency panel report on the pension system, raising concerns that expert recommendations would in the future be less able to guide policymaking. Similarly, throughout 2020, the government was criticized for its failure to consult with experts on COVID-19 policies and its response to the pandemic.
Sebastian Maslow, Knowledge Regimes in Post-Developmental States: Assessing the Role of Think Tanks in Japan’s Policymaking Process, Pacific Affairs 91 (2018), 1: 95-117.

Advisory panel in works to speed up review of Japan defense guidelines, The Japan Times, 26 August 2018,

Naoko Furuyashiki, Finance minister Aso blasted for rejecting report on inadequate pension system, The Mainichi, 21 June 2019,
The decision-making system in Latvia is transparent and open to public participation from the point at which policy documents are circulated between ministries in preparation for review by the cabinet. At this stage, experts and NGOs have the opportunity to provide input on their own initiative.

Most ministries have developed good practices in the area of public consultation. For example, ministries often seek expert advice by inviting academics to join working groups. Some government planning documents, such as the National Action Plan for Open Government by the State Chancellery, have been drafted in cooperation with NGO experts, following public discussions.

However, the government lacks the finances to regularly commission academic input. Consequently, expert engagement is given voluntarily, without remuneration.

The tax reform in 2017 saw a wide array of international and domestic experts propose and debate reforms across a broad spectrum of government committees, public forums, TV and radio debates, and op-ed columns. A similar deliberation process preceded the healthcare reforms and, in 2019, the territorial administrative reform. This has increased the status of non-governmental academic experts and government transparency.

However, expert advice is not always sought out and/or embraced. Recently, for example, an academic expert group was established to assess the future scenarios for COVID-19 crisis management, coordinated by the PKC. Soon afterward, the group of experts terminated its activities indefinitely, because the model for cooperation with the Cabinet of Ministers was seen as having failed, and the experts did not feel that the results were justifying their efforts. The group explained that the cooperation should be rooted in government requests for academic expertise, which had not occurred during this time.
1. Official Gazzette ‘Latvijas Vestnesis’ (2021) Statement by the Academic Environment Expert Group on the suspension of its activities, Available (in Latvian):, Last accessed: 13.01.2022
Lithuanian decision-makers are usually quite attentive to the recommendations of the European Commission and other international expert institutions. They are also receptive to involving non-governmental academic experts in the early stages of government policymaking. The governments led by Andrius Kubilius and Algirdas Butkevičius set up expert advisory groups (including the so-called Sunset Commission, which involved several independent experts). The Skvernelis government, however, did not renew the mandate of the Sunset Commission. Instead, the Skvernelis government decided to develop a Government Strategic Analysis Center (STRATA) tasked with generating new evidence for policymaking, using the government’s reformed Research and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis Center (MOSTA) as a basis.

However, major policy initiatives are usually driven by intra- or interparty agreements rather than empirical evidence provided by non-governmental academic experts. In many cases, expert recommendations are not followed when the main political parties are unable to come to a political consensus. In addition, the rarity of ex ante impact assessments involving experts and stakeholder consultation contributes to the lack of timely evidence-based analysis. For example, debates on the amendments to the Alcohol Control Law, which was adopted by the parliament in 2017, were affected by the lack of timely evidence-based analysis. Some initiatives publicly discussed by the government in 2018 – 2019 (e.g., the introduction of vouchers for buying food from small retailers, or the relocation of the Ministry of Agriculture from Vilnius to Kaunas) were not accompanied by impact assessments.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments started relying much more on expert advice in selecting measures to tackle the spread of the virus and address challenges in the healthcare system. However, this for the most part concerned experts in medicine and epidemiology, and to a lesser extent data scientists. Experts in the social sciences were much less involved. Medical experts were not initially involved systematically, but a more comprehensive approach emerged with the creation of the Medical Experts Council as an initiative of the president.

The conservative-liberal coalition government formed in late 2020 stated in its program that it intends to devote more attention to the conduct of impact assessments and consultations with stakeholders, including experts. The government also received a set of recommendations from the OECD, which prepared a policy study on how to better utilize evidence for policymaking purposes. In November 2021, STRATA and the European Commission jointly organized a workshop on the use of science to inform policymaking, in which other ways of improving the use of science for policymaking purposes were also discussed. After the 2020 elections, the parliament established a Committee for the Future, which regularly invites experts to its discussions. However, consultations with experts on concrete legislative initiatives proposed by members of the parliament are rare, and depend on the personal initiative of specific committee chairpeople.
Bortkevičiūtė et al., Nuo greitų pergalių prie skaudžių pralaimėjimų: Lietuvos viešosios politikos atsakas į COVID-19 pandemiją ir šios krizės valdymas 2020 m, 2021, Vilnius: Vilnius University.
OECD, Mobilising Evidence at the Centre of Government in Lithuania. Strengthening decision-making and policy evaluation for long-term development, Paris: OECD, 2021.
European Commission, Science for policymaking in Lithuania workshop, November 23, 2021,
In the Mexican political system, barriers between the government and scholars are comparatively low. It is quite common for a cabinet to include recruits from academia, and there are also substantial informal contacts between academics and high-level public officials. By the same token, former government officials often teach at universities.

After assuming office, President López Obrador announced he would strengthen relationships with experts and activists from civil society, rather than with economists and international professionals. In contrast to former governments, consultations with civil society actors and citizens enjoy high priority. However, these announcements have proven to be merely rhetorical. In reality, governmental decision-making is concentrated in the presidency, mainly in the figure of President López Obrador himself in a populist manner. Experts and members of the public are included in pro forma consultations.
South Korea
Non-governmental academic experts have considerable influence on government decision-making. Expertise is sourced from external experts at research institutes and universities. A large portion of the Presidential Commission on Policy Planning is staffed with professors and other experts, and most of the other members have an academic background. In addition to the Presidential Commission on Policy Planning, scholars are often nominated for top government positions. Academic experts participate in diverse statutory advisory bodies established under the offices of the president and prime minister. Advisory commissions are usually dedicated to specific issues deriving from the president’s policy preferences. However, the selection of academic experts is often seen as too narrow and exclusive. The process of appointing experts remains highly politicized, and in the past experts have often been chosen because of their political leanings rather than their academic expertise. Some fault the Moon administration for ignoring criticisms of policies provided by experts with different political perspectives than its own, which makes the process of policy consultation less effective.
Citations: President Moon appoints senior secretaries. May 11, 2017
The government frequently employs ad hoc commissions of scientific experts on technical topics like water management, harbor and airport expansion, gas drilling on Wadden Sea islands and pollution studies. The function of scientific advisory services in departments has been changed through the establishment of “knowledge chambers” and, following U.S. and UK practice, the appointment of chief scientific officers or chief scientists as advisory experts. Depending on the nature of the policy issues, these experts may flexibly mobilize the required scientific bodies and scientists instead of relying on fixed advisory councils with fixed memberships. This also allows room for political flexibility – that is, by hiring or contracting commercial, private consultancies to provide politically needed and desirable research and advice.

Although the use of scientific expertise is quite high, its actual influence on policymaking cannot be precisely ascertained, as scholarly advice is intended to be instrumental and therefore is less welcome in the early phases of policymaking. During the pandemic, the government has relied heavily on expert advice from the Outbreak Management Team. It is certainly not transparent to the wider public, although the public has become more aware of – and alarmed – about the importance of expert advice during the management of the coronavirus pandemic. Since 2011, the focus of advice has been redirected from relatively “strategic and long-term” issues to “technical, instrumental and mid-/short-term” matters.

As might be expected in times of political polarization and science skepticism, even members of parliament have expressed doubts about the integrity of the knowledge institutes and the validity of their information. The research unit of the Ministry of Justice and Safety (Wetenschappelijk Onderzoeks – en Documentatie Centrum, WODC) has been subject to political meddling, and during the debates and deliberations on the climate agreement, on flight routes to and from the newly built but not yet used Lelystad Airport, and especially on estimating the agriculture sector’s nitrogen emissions, the Environmental Planning Agency’s measurement and modeling practices came under scrutiny. Generally, politicians and the wider public have become more aware that expert advice frequently relies on plausible assumptions-based modeling rather than on evidence-based information.

Nevertheless, the cabinet still appears to rely heavily on its knowledge institutes and departmental knowledge centers for its long-term strategies and decision-making. The scrutiny by political parties, members of parliament, civil society associations and journalists has generally been beneficial with regard to the transparency of information collection and the policy support provided by the government’s knowledge institutes.
R. Hoppe, 2014. Patterns of science/policy interaction in The Netherlands, in P. Scholten & F. van Nispen, Policy Analysis in the Netherlands, Policy Press, Bristol (ISBN 9781447313335)

RTL Nieuws, Commissie: huidig rekensysteem stikstof niet geschikt voor vergunningen
15 juni 2020

Volkskrant, Yvonne Hofs. 19 juli 2020. Boeren gaan protesteren bij ‘selectief’ rekenend RIVM: soepel voor de snelweg en streng voor het vee

P. Omtzigt, 2021. Een nieuw social contract, Deel III. Hoe modellen Nederland bepalen, Amsterdam: Prometheus

Boin, A. et al., 2020. Een analyse van de nationale crisiresponse. Leiden: The Crisis University Press

R. Hoppe, 2014. Patterns of science/policy interaction in The Netherlands, in P. Scholten & F. van Nispen, Policy Analysis in the Netherlands, Policy Press, Bristol (ISBN 9781447313335)
U.S. policymaking incorporates scholarly and expert advice in an informal and highly decentralized manner. Along with university-based experts and analytic agency staffs, there are a few hundred think tanks – non-governmental organizations that specialize in policy research and commentary.

During the first year of the pandemic, President Trump spread misinformation about COVID-19 and his administration “undermined, suppressed and censored government scientists working to study the virus and reduce its harm” (Tollefson, 2020). During the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden pledged to restore the integrity of expert advice within the federal government, something he started to put into practice during his first year in the White House, which witnessed a major shift in presidential discourse and behavior surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Tollefson, Jeff. 2020. “How Trump damaged science – and why it could take decades to recover,” Nature, October 7.
In some cases, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
In Bulgaria, there are various ways to consult stakeholders and experts, including a special online portal at the Council of Ministers and more than 70 advisory councils. The government has also begun seeking out expertise by forming public councils linked to specific ministries. Representatives of academia and research institutes are traditionally included in the process on an ad hoc basis.

Apart from opinions for strategies in the fields of social inclusion, poverty, jobs and social policy, no other strategies received any attention in 2021. The three versions of the Recovery and Resilience Plan were widely discussed too, but very few promising proposals were taken by the government drafters.

Amendments to the state budget of 2021 and the provisional framework for the 2022 budget were also extensively discussed by the Fiscal Council and independent experts. There is currently little indication which suggestions will be included.
Council of Ministers, public consultations portal:

Council of Ministers, advisory councils portal:
In Czechia, there are several permanent or temporary advisory bodies and several public research institutions that are closely linked to individual ministries or the Government Office and which partly depend on state funding. Within the cabinet, there is a unit consisting of consultants and advisers to the prime minister, whose task is to evaluate the substantive content of legislative materials and prepare a strategic agenda for the government. Under Prime Minister Babiš, the consultation of non-governmental experts has lost importance. The number of his official external advisers fell to only 11. While Babiš reactivated the National Economic Council of the Government (NERV) – a government advisory body on economic issues, which had originally been formed in 2010, but then left to go dormant – at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the body was soon sidelined and had little impact on government decision-making. Petr Fiala, the new Czech prime minister since the end of November 2021, has expanded the number of his official external advisers from 11 to 14. The prime minister’s Council of Advisers is dominated by economists and medical experts.
In contrast to some other European countries, the French government does not rely heavily on academic advice, even though the President’s Office and the Prime Minister’s Office frequently consult economists, and outstanding non-governmental academics may be chosen to sit on national reflection councils covering various policy fields (e.g., integration and education). But the influence of academics is not comparable to what can be found in many other political settings. High-level civil servants tend to consider themselves self-sufficient. Once the government has chosen a policy strategy, it tends to stick to it without significant discussion over the appropriateness or effectiveness of choices made. One recent illuminating case has been the announcement that more nuclear energy would be necessary in the future as part of the country’s energy mix. There is nothing comparable in France to the economic institutes in Germany, for example, the opinions of which serve to guide the government and offer a platform for public debates. One telling example of this indifference to experts was the decision (in reaction to the modest ranking of French universities in international rankings) to merge the universities within individual cities and regions, under the assumption that larger universities would produce better results. This decision was taken in spite of the opposition of the academic community, and against the evidence provided by, for instance, the American and British university systems. Predictably, the results have been rather disappointing, while some new bureaucratic monsters have been born.
By contrast, the reform of the pension system currently has been heavily influenced by experts and economists. However, its radical U-turn in relation to the past has created political turmoil and fierce opposition. Due to the explosion of the pandemic the reform had to be delayed to a more opportune time.
Italy lacks a strong tradition of regular government consultation with non-governmental academics. A small group of partisan experts selected by the prime minister and other ministers frequently offer strategic and technical advice. However, independent experts are rarely consulted in a transparent way. Important legislative proposals do not benefit from an institutionalized, open and transparent consultation process. In the finance, culture and labor ministries the role of external experts is more established. Independent academic experts have in the past been involved in the spending review, but only on a short-term basis.

The current Draghi government has given a prominent role to non-partisan experts by assigning them four important ministries (environmental transition; infrastructure; technological innovation and digital transition; and university and research). Generally speaking, the policy advisory system in Italy is not very inclusive and it is based only on bureaucratic expertise combined with partisan advisers.
Consultation processes involving academic experts has always been rather intermittent, but since 2013, such experts have been involved in a greater number of areas including family issues, gay rights, care of the elderly, health issues such as diabetes, IT in schools and others. With the exception of standing parliamentary committees, which regularly consult with academic experts, the government tends to consult with outside experts in an issue-based and ad hoc manner. Academic input is at the line ministry level. Policy issues have at times been the focus of studies directly commissioned from faculties, institutes and other bodies. Information required by the government may also be contracted out on an individual basis. In recent years, EU funds have been sourced to conduct research and consultation processes on a greater scale.

In addition, the process of developing important strategic plans and policies is being opened to consultation by stakeholders, including NGOs and the general public. Web-based consultation processes have become more refined, and calls for consultation more frequent. Nonetheless, gaps in the consultation process remain. In some policy areas, consultation remains sketchy or minimal, while in others, policy areas stakeholders are brought in only at a late stage. Occasionally, experts selected for the consultation process are accused of having conflicts of interest. One such example is the attempt in 2021 to update legislation with regard to prostitution. Different expert views and government input on whether and how the sector should be decriminalized resulted in the policy area becoming so contentious that reform was put on the back burner.
PA Chief insists Paceville consultants had no conflict of interest Malta Today 02/11/16
Paceville Master plan:Mott Macdonald should refund payment aftet alleged conflict of interest Independent 23/11/16
Malta Today 18/09/2020 Sex workers with agency must be part of prostitution reform
Malta Today 16/03/2021 Malta prostitution reform gains support of European sex workers union
The government utilizes academic experts for research on a wide variety of topics and to implement strategic development. A good example of this is the government’s decision to commission Professor António Costa e Silva to write the Strategic Vision for the Economic Recovery Plan of Portugal.

In the context of the pandemic, this form of consultation was extended. The government established regular meetings between health experts and political decision-makers, including members of the government, the president, representatives of all parties with parliamentary representation, representatives of trade unions and the business community, and other stakeholders. The first of these meetings took place on 24 March 2020, with subsequent sessions held very frequently (initially weekly, then fortnightly), totaling 10 sessions over the first pandemic wave (the last of which was held on July 24). While no regular meeting schedule was afterward established, this group has met subsequently as deemed necessary.

The government also engaged in consultations with experts from other fields. For example, the prime minister has regularly met with a number of leading economists to discuss economic recovery policies, beginning as early as mid-April 2020 (XXII Governo Constitucional) and continuing in October of that year (Público 2020). Overall, the experts selected represented a diverse body of opinion, and the group was by all accounts open to the addition of new members over time.

However, these mechanisms are mainly used on an ad hoc basis, and without a systematic academic-consultation mechanism in place.
Público (2020). “Primeiro-ministro ouve economistas e empresários sobre Plano de Recuperação e Resiliência,” Público, 5 October 2020, available online at:

XXII Governo Constitucional (2020). “Primeiro-Ministro reúne-se com académicos e economistas sobre as medidas de relançamento económico,” 13 April 2020, available online at:

XXII Governo Constitucional (2020). “Governo nomeia António Costa e Silva coordenador da preparação do Programa de Recuperação Económica e Social,” 3 June 2020, available online at:
Slovak governments rely on various permanent or temporary advisory committees. Prime ministers have their own advisory body. There are also several public research institutions with close linkages to ministries that are largely dependent on state funding and provide their analysis to the government. Within the ministries, expert advice is provided by so-called “analytical centers,” which are separated units composed of experts with different backgrounds, but a common sense of mission. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Matovič government set up a temporary advisory body, the Economic Crisis Council. Like its predecessors, however, however, both the Matovič and Heger governments have been inconsistent in deciding upon whether to draw upon external expertise and, if so, whom they choose to work with. During the first wave of the pandemic, Matovič drew in some cases upon the knowledge of health experts to silence criticism and to bypass institutionalized procedures, and backtracked on expert advice when pressed by public opinion in other cases (Buštíková/ Baboš 2020).
Buštíková, L., P. Baboš (2020): Best in Covid: Populists in the Time of Pandemic, in: Politics and Governance 8(4): 496-508 (DOI:
In Slovenia, the Government Office and the ministries have various advisory bodies that include academic experts. Prime Minister Cerar, an academic himself, strongly relied on academic and practitioners’ advice when establishing his party platform, coalition and government program. While the Cerar government regularly sought external advice, it often failed to implement it. The Šarec government behaved in a similar fashion. The Janša government has established several expert groups for digitalization, de-bureaucratization, healthcare reform and the coronavirus crisis, which have been tasked with preparing policy solutions and proposing new or adopted legislation. Several solutions (e.g., concerning de-bureaucratization and digitalization) have already been adopted inside amended normative frameworks. For instance, the de-bureaucratization law was adopted in December 2021 following intense public debate and included dozens of de-bureaucratization measures, which aim to simplify administrative procedures in both the public and private sectors.
The 2009 Societal Consultation Codex, which serves as a set of guidelines for the policymaking process, mentions the consultation of academic experts. In practice, however, the involvement of academic experts in the policymaking process remains rare. Moreover, it is largely limited to the early phases of policy formulation and does not extend to the final drafting of legislation, let alone the monitoring of implementation.
Under the PiS government, policymaking has been ideologically driven rather than evidence based. While the government does consult with experts, these consultations are selective and not very transparent. The government listens to Ordo Iuris, an anti-choice group of conservative lawyers, but refuses to consult experts on climate change. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government set up a COVID-19 advisory council, but has increasingly ignored its recommendations. This marginalization led 13 out of 17 council members to resign in January 2022. The government’s ideological approach has led many experts who once showed some sympathy for PiS to break with the party.
Cooperation between the government and non-governmental experts is weakly institutionalized. Consultations are irregular and lack transparency as well as mechanisms that would ensure feedback received is actually accounted for in policy. The dismantling in 2018 of the Ministry for Public Consultation and Civic Dialogue, to ensure systematic public consultation, marked a step backward in the formalization of public and expert consultation processes within the country. No real changes occurred under Dăncilă and Orban in 2019. As part of its National Action Plan, Open Government Partnership (2018–2020), the Romanian government sought to standardize the public consultation process. However, the outcome of this exercise is not clear and public consultation on legislative or institutional activities remains sporadic.
Open Government Partnership, National Action Plan (2018-2020). Bucharest.
The spectrum of communication with outside experts is narrowing, as the government has begun to recruit experts that will provide alternative but not critical opinions on relevant issues of public policy.

Public institutions’ annual activity reports do not indicate how often expert opinions have been requested. Selected groups of scholars participate in the preparation of special expert reports related to the national development plans. The councils established under the Presidential Office are entitled to prepare reports on certain public issues and incorporate the opinions of the ministries, relevant public entities as well as other experts.
Üstüner, Y., & Yavuz, N. (2018). Turkey’s Public Administration Today: An Overview and Appraisal. International Journal of Public Administration, 41(10), 820-831.
Appointments to the managing councils of public law entities include scholars. With regard to expert participation in consultative bodies created in the past, little is known about their work or fate.

Advisory bodies have long existed, although with limited tasks and scope of work, and limited to providing non-binding advice. Their voluntary work was supplementary to that of the administration.

Institutions in which experts participate, such as the Fiscal Council, the Economic Council and the Scientific Council for Research have seen their work and advice largely ignored. The new Deputy Ministry for Research and Digital Development (2020), a chief scientist and the Scientific Council for Research, appointed in 2018, are working together on research.

While the state rarely seeks experts’ advice, it has been working closely with experts on COVID-19 issues since early 2020.
The government does not consult with non-governmental experts, or existing consultations lack transparency entirely and/or are exclusively pro forma.
The Orbán governments have shown no interest in seeking independent and knowledge-based advice and have alienated many leading experts who initially sympathized with them politically. The culture war waged by Fidesz and the growing restrictions placed on academic freedom have further intensified this alienation. The government has invested considerably in creating a network of partisan experts in fake independent institutions that can influence public opinion and has used such institutions to give a voice to government views in the international debates. The reduction of decision-making to an inner circle and abstaining from broad advice evidently leads to groupthink and low quality of decisions, often detached from societal reality.
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