The UK Government has committed itself to releasing a ‘policy framework’ for the Arctic in 2013. This decision was taken in response to the recommendations of the parliamentary inquiry undertaken by the Environmental Audit Committee in 2012. The timing is significant, coming amid broader debates about whether the UK needs an Arctic Strategy. The Government insists that a ‘policy framework’ is not the same as a ‘strategy’, yet the decision to prepare such a document still signals a departure from the status quo. This commentary considers what the Government means by a ‘policy framework’, how this differs from a ‘strategy’, and why such a document is needed now.