ODPM was created as a central department in its own right in May 2002. It was responsible for policy on housing, planning, devolution, regional and local government and the fire service. It also took responsibility for the Social Exclusion Unit, the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit and the Government Offices for the Regions. The ODPM took on new responsibilities from the former Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) which had been split up.
ODPM research supported policy development, implementation and evaluation; and provided evidence to inform and support ministerial decisions. ODPM's research strategy also developed departmental links with the wider research community, communicates research and its results to users and builds research capacity. ODPM's research was commissioned through six research programmes.
The ODPM was replaced in 2006 by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
ODPM research had five objectives:
- To provide the evidence base to inform and support current and future ministerial decisions;
- To support policy development and deliver;
- To evaluate delivery outcomes and processes;
- To build links with the wider research community to develop capacity and strengthen the research-policy interface;
- To support public and private sector stakeholders to deliver government policy, through provision of research evidence and research based guidance.
ODPM was a major 'quality of life' department with the aim of developing thriving, inclusive and sustainable communities in all regions.
In addition to the work to achieve this aim, it was committed to the pursuit of the UK's sustainable development strategy, A better quality of life. Sustainable communities are about a reconnection between people and place - a new localism that builds and binds strong communities, with good local schools, transport, healthcare, employment and leisure - generating prosperity and a renewed sense of civic pride.
The Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) was set up by the Prime Minister to help improve Government action to reduce social exclusion by producing 'joined-up solutions to joined-up problems'. In Spring 2001, the Prime Minister asked the SEU to work with other Government departments to explore and make recommendations to overcome the transport and accessibility problems experienced by people facing social exclusion. The resulting report sets out a strategy to ensure that everyone can reach opportunities such as work, learning and healthcare. A new framework is being built into local transport planning to address local accessibility problems, with appropriate local solutions.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was abolished in 2006 due to government re-organisation and its functions with respect to research into inclusiveness, social exclusion, housing, local government, etc were taken over by the newly created Department for Communities and Local Government (see separate "Communities and Local Government" programme profile).
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) was directly responsible for capital expenditure delivered every year through its agencies, sponsored bodies (NDPBs) and third parties, particularly local government which it sponsors through grant payments.