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  United Kingdom

UK Government 

Departmental Business Plans

Since November 2011 all Government Departments’ Business Plans have been published on the “Transparency” section of the Prime Minister’s website so that anyone can check how every government department is performing in delivering on the priorities set out in its business plan. You can search by department and by month to check performance against each of the departments' priorities.

Annual Report and Accounts

From 2011/12, all UK government departments have been required to report on their embedding of sustainable development in their annual report and accounts, published and laid before Parliament before the summer recess. This is a new requirement for all departments and is an important part of the move to increase transparency and accountability. For more detail on the reporting requirements for government departments on sustainable development, see: Annual Report and Accounts: UK Government departments’ mandatory requirements.

Stakeholder engagement

We update our stakeholders with news of our progress through “SD Scene”, the Government’s Sustainable Development news website monthly e-newsletter, which is sent to over 8,000 subscribers each month. SD Scene reports news and events from across the wider sustainable development community, including news from government of our successes and the challenges we face in delivering our vision of mainstreaming sustainable development across government. It has interactive elements – including user comments, the SD Scene Twitter feed and online surveys – enabling SD Scene to serve as our main stakeholder engagement tool, which is complemented by meetings and direct engagement. 

Stakeholder engagement is crucial to the effective mainstreaming of sustainable development across government. An example of effective engagement was the invitation, announced through SD Scene in September 2011, for stakeholders to comment on the new SDIs – 242 stakeholders responded. Stakeholders were also invited to put themselves forward for stakeholder engagement in a survey in SD Scene in December 2011. We have also held a series of small focussed stakeholder events to access expertise to help inform the development of mainstreaming sustainable development policy.

Parliamentary scrutiny

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) considers the extent to which the policies and programmes of government departments and non-departmental public bodies contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development, and it audits their performance against any sustainable development and environmental protection targets. The Committee’s remit cuts across government rather than focuses on the work of a particular department. 

The EAC therefore has a very important role to play in scrutinising and holding the Government to account on its sustainable development mainstreaming policies and approach. The EAC has undertaken two inquiries during the current Parliament (which began on May 2010) in October 2010 and July 2012 into this area of policy and invited Government Ministers to give oral evidence in front of it. 
To date, the EAC has also contributed two articles in December 2011 and August 2012 to SD Scene outlining its remit, how it works, and its scrutiny of the Government’s progress on sustainable development and environmental policy.
In order to support external scrutiny, The Government is also committed to being open and transparent with more of our sustainable operations and procurement performance data, so that the public and Parliament can hold us to account. 

Northern Ireland
The Northern Ireland Executive has entitled its Sustainable Development Strategy ‘Everyone’s Involved’ to reflect the participatory and collaborative ethos that characterises the approach to the delivery of sustainable development here. The Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Development Strategy was developed through a collaborative process involving a wide range of organisations within and beyond Government. The Plan contains commitments to action by all Government Departments, by a range of other public sector organisations, and by organisations in the private and voluntary sectors.
Provision has been made for mechanisms to support action by, and communication between, organisations and individuals committed to sustainability across all sectors of society.

No information available.

The Sustainable Development Scheme for Wales sets out the Welsh Government’s vision of a sustainable Wales, and describes how this vision will be realised through our delivery approach. 
The Welsh Government is engaging with individuals and organisations in Wales in changing their behaviours to help us meet the targets set out in the Sustainable Development Scheme, and those in the Climate Change Strategy, through a comprehensive programme of work to encourage more sustainable behaviours at the individual, community and organisational level.
The Welsh Government established the Sustainable Development Charter in 2010 following its own commitment to making sustainable development the central organising principle.
The Charter is our principle tool to promote sustainable development with our partners across Wales. Membership of the Sustainable Development Charter commits organisations and businesses operating in Wales to embedding sustainable development at the heart of their decision making. Signatory organisations are encouraged to make decisions that will bring long-term benefits to the people, environment and economy of Wales.
The exchange of ideas and networking across sectors is possibly the most valuable aspect of the network. This exchange is critical to further organisations’ understanding, expertise and confidence to deliver on sustainable development.

For a detailed documentation of all advisory and participatory councils (for SD and/or the environment) in this country, please go to the EEAC website at and click on one of the listed institutions.


This Country Profile has been last updated on: Thursday, 04 October 2012

For the sources used in the country profiles, please click here.


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