Knowledge for better food systems

Food policy in England needs coordination

The UK’s Food Research Collaboration has published a guidance note and a report on how food policy is currently made in England. It calls for more coordination between different decision-making bodies in the response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food system.

The report Who makes food policy in England? demonstrates that food policy-making by the government in England involves no fewer than 16 different departments, ranging from Health to Transport, Digital to Agriculture, plus numerous public bodies. For each, the report identifies the goals, policy responsibilities, food-related activities, structure and role in the UK’s departure from the European Union.

The guidance note, Coordination must be key to how governments respond to Covid-19 food impacts: a view from England, calls for a cross-government coordinating committee on the food system. It argues that this need for more coordination predated COVID-19 (but has been accentuated by the pandemic), because of the risks of clashes between the objectives of different departments, duplication of policies, confusion, missed opportunities for multiple benefits from policies, and issues being overlooked because each department assumes another is responsible.

Read the full report Who makes food policy in England? and the guidance note, Coordination must be key to how governments respond to Covid-19 food impacts: a view from England, here. See also the Foodsource building block What is food security? and read other COVID-19 content in the FCRN’s research library here.  

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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