Policy without Learning: Double Devolution and the Abuse of the Deliberative Idea

Alexander Grant Jordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This article asserts that the current ‘Double Devolution’ idea in the UK is part of a wider fashion in political architecture that generally sees the emergence of larger units. Simultaneously though there is a political need for gestures to smaller scale units and more deliberative procedures. The article argues that the Double Devolution concept simply ignores a rising volume of evidence that finds problems in operationalizing small-scale and deliberative ideas. Among other problems is the consequence that the resulting increased policy diversity is quickly labelled a ‘postcode lottery’. The article also reviews the deliberative literature to find serious questions raised about new biases that emerge in deliberative settings. Finally, the article adopts Hood’s work on cultural theory and public management to say that in fact evidence-based policy making may not be the norm - but policy selections reflect values and normative preferences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-73
Number of pages26
JournalPublic Policy and Administration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


  • cultural theory
  • deliberation
  • democracy
  • diversity
  • Double Devolution
  • operationalization


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