Joined-up government (JUG) is a major pillar of the Labour Government's Modernising Government agenda in the United Kingdom (UK). To date, however, there are still surprisingly few detailed empirical studies of how well JUG initiatives are performing. This paper takes the policy challenge of sustainable development, which incorporates economic, social and environmental elements, as a critical test of JUG. It does so by empirically examining how well sustainable development is integrated into mainstream sectoral policy making through the application of policy appraisal in the areas of energy, defence and public spending. Overall, it demonstrates that joining-up by centralized means has been unable to override the forces of departmentalism, which are shown to be deeply rooted in departments' approaches to policy appraisal. It then argues that addressing this problem will require a carefully designed package of centralised initiatives to minimize departmental discretion, and a series of more diffuse tools and administrative capacities to encourage departmental policy makers to coordinate. Without such a two pronged approach, Labour's pursuit of more joined-up policy making may be severely undermined.
joined-up government policy appraisal policy coordination Sustainable Development