The Policy Process Implementation Introduction • Real test of government power is not whether they can get a policy approved, but whether they can get a policy implemented. • Tends to be a high proportion of policies in the UK that do fail to meet with their objectives. See case study analysis. • Implementation studies remain wedded to top-down & bottom –up analyses (there are others!) Implementation Failure • Non-implementation – a policy is simply not put into effect as intended, because of lack of cooperation, obstacles, inefficiency • Unsuccessful implementation – policy is carried out in full but policy still fails to produce the intended outcomes/effects • Three reasons for policy failure – bad execution, bad policy or bad luck! Perfect Implementation (10 preconditions…) 1. External circumstances do not pose any significant constraint to the implementing agency 2. Adequate time and sufficient resources are available for the programme 3. Combination of resources is actually available 4. The actual policy is based upon a valid theory of cause and effect and isn’t irrational 5. Relationship between cause and effect is direct with few/no intervening links Perfect Implementation (10 preconditions…) 6. Dependency on other agencies/organisations is minimal 7. Understanding and agreement re: objectives 8. Tasks are fully specified in the correct sequence 9. Prefect communication and co-ordination 10. Perfect obedience – those in authority can demand and obtain perfect compliance (Adapted from Hogwood & Gunn, 1984) Top Down Models • Top initiated and goal directed activity. • Principle concerned with why a successful outcome does or does not occur. • Come in for lots of criticism. • What's good with a top down approach? - those who are making policy are elected by us and therefore have a degree of legitimacy, those charged with implementation are not, and therefore may have less legitimacy. Bottom-Up Models • “An approach to the study of implementation that stresses the involvement of lower level bureaucrats and others who carry out public decisions. The ideas and influences of these actors feed back to the peak decision-makers to influence policy-choices” (John, 1998) • Focuses on the significance of relationship between policy-maker and policy deliverer • Stresses that implementers have large degree of discretion in how they implement policy (if at all) • Shows how bureaucrats and professionals offer illustration of this Street-Level Bureaucrats • SLB’s are public sector field workers who interact directly with citizens/public in implementing and delivering public policy and have a degree of discretion in their jobs. • Street level bureaucrats have become important policy makers because of the decision they make in delivering services or interpreting the law. • SLB’s employ variety of coping mechanisms to make fieldwork manageable – but can distort implementation • Is it the case that SLB’s might be blamed for policy failures that were resultant upon another variable? Professionals • The ability or power of a group to define and control their work (Parsons p.154) – e.g. medical profession • Arguments in favour – possession of inaccessible expertise; relationships are governed by ethical codes and altruistic values • Arguments against – used to obscure professional power; to deliver a protected working environment; occupational control; and high rewards • Recent development of questioning professional advice – a good thing or not? • Are they regulated enough in terms of the policy decisions that they make? Contrasting top-down and bottom-up Policy Rule Framework seen as: Policy seen as: Accountability seen as depending on: Hill (1997:140) Top Down Bottom Up Rigid Flexible An input An output Deference to Adaptability to a legislative customer/ process client needs The Best of Both Worlds…? • Sabatier (1986) tried to synthesize the work of both models to create a set of conditions for effective implementation • Takes into account concerns of the bottom-up approach in that it emphasises networks which structure implementation • Stresses the importance of top-down consideration e.g.. The beliefs of the policy elites The Best of Both Worlds…? • Clear and consistent objectives • Accurate theory of HOW to bring about change • Implementation structures that are legally structured so as to enhance the likelihood of compliance with policy implementation • Committed and skilful implementers • Support of interest groups and ‘sovereigns’ in the executive and legislature • Changes in socio-economic activity that does not undermine the support of groups and sovereigns or subvert the theory underpinning the policy. Thatcher’s Policy • Poll Tax introduced in 1990 – See ‘Policy-Making in Political memoirs – The case of the Poll Tax’ by Conor McGrath • Child Support Agency introduced in 1993 – See Dolowitz, DP (2001) 'The British Child Support Agency: did American origins bring failure?' Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Vol. 19 • Healthcare Reforms – See Cairney (2002) ‘New Public Management and the Thatcher healthcare legacy: enough of the theory, what about the implementation?’ Labour and New Deal • New Deal for Lone Parents, welfare to work programme • Labour upbeat about impact – lone parents claiming benefits had fallen by 130,000 in 2001 from 1997 • BUT – Lone parents and children still disproportionately poor – Is work the best place for parents of young children? Review of Policy Implementation under New Labour • Strengthening of central government not necessarily good for policy analysis and implementation • Transport Policy Typical Questions to Consider • What are the main difference in the focus of ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ models of policy implementation? • Are the two models mutually exclusive? • Where is the ‘top-down’ control over ‘street level bureaucrats’ and ‘professionals’? • Once the policy has been decided, its implementation should be relatively straight forward. Discuss • Is ‘perfect implementation’ ever possible in the real world? What is the best that we can hope for? Seminar for next week • Review with articles mentioned in this weeks lecture. Details on webct. • Research a current government policy success or failure of your choice and articulate your reasons why, using the theory to back up your argument.