This paper, primarily based on work done at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London, examined the validity of the notion of a preparatory process as the explication of colonial policy in areas where the Durham report had not been felt to be applicable. It criticized the notion of stages and questioned the historical truth of the preparatory idea; and it discussed the nature of a bureaucratic colonial polity, the problems of gradualism, the transfer of institutions and the transfer of power, and it ends with some questions about inheritance and administrative styles.