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Knowledge, Policy, and ExpertiseThe UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution 1970–2011$
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Susan Owens

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294658

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198294658.001.0001

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Giving Good Advice?

Giving Good Advice?

(p.146) 7 Giving Good Advice?
Knowledge, Policy, and Expertise

Susan Owens

Oxford University Press

This chapter has three roles. First, it draws out the distinctive characteristics of the Commission that were critical to its standing and influence—its authority, autonomy, breadth, and continuities of form and practice, and its positioning at the intersection of epistemic and policy networks. It shows how the Commission’s authority and autonomy were actively constructed over time, and how ‘interdisciplinary deliberation’, policy learning, boundary work, and co-production were vital to its capacity to have effect. It then examines the factors that made abolition possible after forty-one years, including the nature of environmental issues, structures of governance, attitudes towards expertise, and new forms of accountability, as well as proximate political priorities. Finally, the Commission’s attributes, achievements, survival, and demise are related to the wider questions about knowledge and policy (and science and politics) identified in Chapter 1, and the implications for the future of ‘good advice’ are considered.

Keywords:   authority, autonomy, networks, interdisciplinary deliberation, boundary work, co-production, learning, accountability, influence, good advice, abolition

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