This article is based on one first published on the UNA-UK website on 26 August 2020.
Earlier this year the UK Government committed to hold the largest review of the UK’s foreign, defence, security and development policy since the end of the Cold War. The Integrated Review was intended to go beyond the parameters of a traditional review by considering the totality of global opportunities and challenges the UK faces.
However, UNA-UK is disappointed to see that this review is not being conducted in the thorough and consultative manner hoped for. The review process is taking place over a very short time frame before fundamental information about the UK’s post-Brexit arrangements and post-COVID 19 recovery are known; and significant decisions, such as the merger of the DFID and the FCO were taken before the review had concluded.
Most disappointingly of all, there has been very little consultation. Building on our work from 2015, in which we helped generate around 15% of submissions to the Strategic Defence and Security Review, UNA-UK had been making the argument to the government that national security must start with an informed and engaged public and that therefore future reviews should involve a much more comprehensive element to consult the peoples of the United Kingdom, and a timeline that ensures that their views have the opportunity to influence the strategy’s development. Instead, consultation for this Integrated Review has been even more limited than it was in 2015, with a timeframe which gives us even less confidence that the public’s voice will be heard.
But there is still an opportunity for UNA-UK and our supporters to make a valuable contribution to the process. We have identified two ways you can have your say:
- The Government has launched an online portal for members of the public to participate in the Integrated Review. The deadline for submissions is 11 September 2020 and you have to provide submissions in a restrictive format. Nevertheless, these submissions will form part of the review process and UNA-UK and others will be campaigning for the body of public submissions to this portal to play a meaningful role in the review and accountability for this process. To help us with this campaign, please cc firstname.lastname@example.org when you submit your responses. For more information on how to submit visit this page.
- The National Strategy for the Next Generations programme (NSxNG) of the School of International Futures has created an excellent survey about the future of UK foreign policy. This short survey asks people for their vision for the UK’s global role in a generation’s time; views on how the world in 2045 may look; and how national strategy might be made differently. It is an exciting and innovative approach, and while it does not form part of the Government’s consultation process the results will be fed in to the government. This survey will close around the end of September and you can find out more and complete the survey here.
UNA-UK will be feeding in our ideas into two key areas:
- Process: making the case for the involvement of the public in national security and scrutinising the quality of the process. It is vital that there be thorough and meaningful public input in designing the strategy over the coming years. In Feburary we set out key elements of a credible security review.
- Substance: making the case for the UK utilise our international system as the best form of security and influence available in our multipolar and increasingly interconnected world. We believe the UK should articulate a clear agenda for strengthening and reforming the system and should therefore invest in areas such as combatting climate change, peacekeeping, atrocity prevention, and arms control. Additionally, we wish to see the UK invert its thinking on nuclear issues: challenging the UK articulate a non-nuclear security strategy which would enable it to deliver on its NPT commitment to disarm and proceed on the planning presumption that the UK will not renew its nuclear deterrent.
Whether you agree with us or not, please do have your say yourself and share these surveys with friends and colleagues. It is important the government hears from the people, so please do get involved and share your views on the future of the UK and how national strategy can be done differently.