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Public Policy Analysis Research paper

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The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.
INTRODUCTION
This research paper demonstrates the importance and contributions of public policy
analysis to public policy formulation and public policy implementation. Public Policy making
involves a long series of more or less related activities rather than a single discreet decision. (R.
Rose Policy Making in Britain). Public Policy is merely a continuous process of decisions and
activities. It is the association with formal organizational structures of a specific legal type i.e.
agencies of the state which support the distinction between public policy and private policy. It is
geared towards solving internal problems of domestic and national importance that will affect its
citizens. The origin or basis of public policy starts with ideas, convictions or opinions that have to
be sold to the populace. Public policies are essentially important whether the concern rest on
quality, quantity, direction or its symbolic value (Turner and Hulme, 1997).
Policy development received significant attention following the Second World War, as the
need for an analytical approach to social ills was becoming more integral to the formulation of
policy processes. The importance of Social sciences as a profession was recognized by various
disciplines, including sociology and economics to gain a better understanding of policy processes,
in order to make informed decisions. During the 1960s, economists developed various cost-benefit
analysis theories as an approach to problem solving. Related disciplines provided further inputs,
which added various perspectives to address social ills through the systems approach (Heineman
et al., 1997:14-17). Public Policy is an important area in Political Science and analysis and provides
government with facts and statistics about the extent to which initiatives are working so decisions
can be made on the public’s behalf, to respond to a problem which requires attention.
The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.
SELECTED PERSPECTIVES ON POLICY ANALYSIS
Public policy analysis can examine a variety of topics, from the impact of infrastructure on
a nation to basic civil laws. According to Dye 1976, in ‘What governments do, Why they do it,
and What difference does it make’, two research paradigms have emerged among political
scientists who have become interested in the design, measurement and analysis of public policies.
It is essentially a process that aides the development of responsive policies making, thereby making
their delivery more effective. Hogwood and Gunn (1984), took a different approach to how they
arrived at an understanding of public policy. They looked at the way in which the word “policy”
was used in other popular documents and they suggested the schema for classification of differing
policy statements:

As a label for a field of activity- this includes economic policy, social policy, foreign
policy. The writer drew attention to the possibility of the field be coming crowded due to
the number of permutations possible but they also noted that in some fields such as leisure
and recreation, policies were absent.

As an expression of general purpose or desired state of affairs- there was an inclusion in
this category of statements that conveyed an intention that something should be achieved,
for example, lowering the inflation rate. This type of policy is more often included in
election manifestos.

As specific proposals- this is seen as a feature of election manifestos, where the party cites
proposals in their manifestos of matters that are of concern to them and others.

As decisions of government- the writers have reservations about referring to decisions as
policies as a decision becoming a policy is dependent on the political structure. If it is a
majority party form of government, like in the UK as opposed to one where the President
The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.
needs the support of Congress, like the USA, will be determinant of a decision becoming
a policy.

As a programme- this type of policy requires a clearly defined area of government activity
and involves the passing of legislation, a high level of organization and the use of resources.
An example of this is the school feeding programme, where a specific legislation would
have been passed, various resources would be needed to get the job done and manpower to
complete the delivery.

As output- describes what is actually achieved rather than what was promised through
legislation. For example, in the Health care system, even with more funding, training, beds
and staff, may not necessarily improve the overall and influence the ultimate output but
may reach the intermediate output.

As outcome- the writers recognised that it may be difficult to make a distinction between
output and outcome, however outputs the government’s activities at the time of delivery
and outcome as the impact that occurs as aa result of the output. There observation is that
a given policy outcome may be the product of outputs of other policy instruments
implemented by several organization operating in the same policy area.

As a theory or model- according to the writers, all policies, even though it may not be in
black and white, are based on assumptions. Policies imply theories based on cause and
effect, even though they are not always a straightforward relationship. This type of thinking
shows where if ‘x’ part of the policy fails then ‘y’ part is not likely to develop.

As a process- this perspective on policy becomes evident through continuous observation
over a period of time. According to Hogwood and Gunn, this view of policy leads to issues
related to policy analysis.
The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.
To ensure effective communication Specific skills which inform policy makers and
included process investigations during the policy process continued to be developed into a dynamic
investigative framework that included four parameters. These were namely;
•
the concepts underpinning policy change,
•
policy change in terms of the environment and the complex reality,
•
the institutional capacities for change and
•
the experiences of change on the beneficiaries.
Considering the above, any process that excludes any of the processes preceding would be based
on a linear mode, which progresses from the initial stage of policy design to policy implementation
without stakeholder participation (Potter & Subrahmanian, 1998:23-26). Both public and private
interests shape public policy. Dunn’s 1984 definition of public policy as a series of government
choices to act or not to act regarding specific issues alludes to policy makers’ responses or nonresponses regarding pertinent issues (Van Niekerk et al., 2002:86-87). Dunn’s 1984 definition
remains relevant to the present discourse on public policy (Potter & Subrahmanian, 1998:35-39;
Van Niekerk, et al., 2002:86-87).
From the 1980s up to present, policy development processes, saw the focus shift to public
service delivery based on appropriate policies. There are, however, constraints regarding
transparent processes and efficient resource utilization (The World Bank Development Report,
2003:160-162; May, 1997:1-3). The public sector remains accountable for policy processes in
respect of funding service delivery and monitoring poverty programmes. An inefficient public
sector will not deliver effective services. Good governance is a crucial aspect of public service
The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.
delivery, and includes prudent financial expenditure, co-ordination and efficient local
management. Public accountability will ensure policy success. A lack of human and financial
capital adversely affects public sector reform and accountability. It is imperative to balance diverse
group interests by strengthening organizational capabilities.
The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.
CONTRIBUTIONS OF PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSIS
Policy analysis refers to the process of identifying which of the alternative policies is most
likely to accomplish a certain set goals as regards the relationship between the goals and policies
at hand. According to Dunn (2003), policy analysis methods offer the means needed to evaluate
the policy alternatives and provide recommendations on the preferred policy approach to achieve
the various economic, social or political goals. In addition, policy analysis offers a way of
evaluating the existing policies with the primary of objective of providing recommendations on
improvement (Dunn, 2003). Therefore, policy analysis is an indispensable tool during the
development and implementation stages of public policy.
According to Dye 2007, policy analysis plays an instrumental role in the decision-making
process in order to craft the most effective policy that can achieve the established goal. Policy
analysis facilitates this by using a systematic approach to evaluate the various policy options with
regard the goals and objectives at hand. The outcome of the policy analysis process provides a
basis for recommending the most appropriate policy to be implemented in order to achieve the
established goals. Policy analysis can deploy a number of methods such as quantitative and
qualitative research, and using various models such as the process, institutional and rational models
with the main objective of coming up with the best policy agenda. According to Radin (2000), he
asserts that policy analysis is an effective tool that guarantees the effectiveness and efficiency of
the public policies crafted.
Public policies have several impacts on various domains such as politics, the economy and
social spheres. According to Guess & Farnham, 2011, Public policies comprise of programs,
decisions and actions implemented by governmental agencies in order to address issues affecting
The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.
the public.
Public policies strive to regulate the welfare and the economy system through
enhancing social equality and economic performance respectively. Since public policies have the
main objective of dealing with social, political and economic issues facing the citizenry, the impact
of public policies in their respective domains depends on their effectiveness and efficiency. It is
evident that the enactment of public policies leads to enhanced workplace safety, cleaner
environment, public safety through police protection, safe consumer goods and food, and improved
national security among others. All public policies, if implemented appropriately, can increase the
quality of life and enhance public safety.
Henry (1989) contends that public policy can be viewed as having two distinct branches.
On one side, is the substantive branch which is concerned with prescribing for public policy. The
theorists associated with this branch deals with substance such as environment, welfare and energy
and then on the other hand, there is the theoretical branch. The latter group concentration lies on
issues such as research designs, strategic planning, programme planning and other types of policy
questions that are not directly linked with substance and content. Henry suggests that the
theoretical branch is more capable of sustaining the area of study and providing the understanding
of the process of public policy- its formulation, execution and review. Henry also recognises to
broad streams in the Public Administratiionist perspective: Descriptive approach and Prescriptive
approach.
The descriptive approach as posited by Henry (1989), states that the descriptive approach
is concerned analysing the process of policy making. There are six models that fall within the
descriptive approach:
The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.

System Model- proposed by David Easton (The Political System, 1953). One of the
simplest and widely used models in policy making. It views policy making from a macro
level. The model first looks at the various players in the policy process and the influence
of these players. Next in the process is the throughput stage, where the issues go through
what is termed the Black box stage. Here the executives, the legislature and the judiciary
make up the institutions of the government. Finally, the legitimized policy, is interpreted
and implemented by the bureaucracy and fed back to the people.

The Elite/ Mass model- The policy flows downwards from the elite to the masses so the
policy reflect the views of the elite. The policy making elite is able to act in an environment
characterized by apathy and information distortion.

Group model of policy making- also known as the Hydraulic thesis. The policy is
conceived as being a system of forces and pressures acting and reacting to one another in
the formulation of public policy.

The Institutionalist Model- policy making is the work of various government institutions.
Focus is on organizational charts of government and paying special attention to legal
aspects of the government, for example, constitutional process and common law.

The Neo- Institutional Model- classification of policies according to policy-making subsystems. Lowi (1964), classifies policies in four arenas namely redistributive, distributive,
the constituent and the regulative.

Streams and Window Model- posited by John W. Kingdon (1976 and 1979). His research
was in areas such as health and transportation. He identified three streams- the problem
stream- policy makers focused on specific social problems and applied a new policy to
resolve. Political stream- comprises of government agenda where bargaining and
The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.
negotiation are key features of this stream and lastly, policy stream- where the agenda is
focused on decisions and how to resolve problems. Not all policies get passed but the ones
that do must be acceptable to broad social values. The participants are public
administrators, academics and researchers to name a few. A consensus is reached through
persuasion and reasoned argument. Kingdon concludes that when the three streams come
together a public policy would materialise.
The prescriptive approach to public policy analysis focuses on the outputs and the effects
of public policy. Two models associated with this approach are the rational model of policy making
and the incremental model. Rational decision making model is based on an approach of relating
the consequences of all options to all values; and presumes that an ideal type of policy can be
attained. It deals with problem identification, organization and classification of values, goals, and
objectives relevant to problem, the possible ways to solve problem and to realise goals, the
consequences for each policy alternative with probability of occurrence and compare
consequences with previously formulated goals and objectives. Incremental decisions on the other
hand dealt with smaller scale, less radical and ambitious policy measures that can be tested and
adjusted as they are implemented. Lindblom (1959) argues that the more different an alternative
is from the past policies, the more different it would be to predict its consequences. He contends
that radical innovative polices have a larger chance of having unexpected and undesirous
consequences.
In this model of policy making it is believed that modesty of decisions limits possible
negative consequences and there must be gradual policy changes. Decisions have limited
applicability in that they are amended, adjusted, re-adopted. Policy options disappear as a result of
lacking consensus rather than rational selection. Policy makers concentrate on avoiding
The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.
disadvantages or problematic situations rather than goal achievement. Gradual decision processes
stimulate policy learning. Decision making is a constant negotiation and adjustment process.
Lindblom insists that the incremental model is reflective of real life policy making and contains
its own internal logic. He identifies characteristics of real-life policy making such as policies
emerge as a result of interaction between actors, it is based on compromise, large policy failure is
made by small policy adjustments, policy consist of a series decisions and therefore cannot be
solved at one time, and that policy makers avoid situation that may precipitate conflicts.
POLICY FORMULATION
Policy formulation is the development of effective and acceptable courses of action for
addressing what has been placed on the policy agenda which must be valid, efficient and must be
authorized by the legitimate decision makers. Policy analysis is important as it involves the
systematic evaluation of the technical and political implications of alternatives proposed. The
implementation of policies is not an easy task as these policies may not have clear starting points
or clear endings, it is a “moving object” (Hill & Hupe, 2009). Implementation may not be rationally
organized, since conditions may change; Policy monitoring aids in the improvement of policy
information, enables stakeholders to work together, evaluation of technique with the assistance of
policy makers from feedback given will determine whether or not the policy requires modification
or whether it has been properly implemented or should a new policy be implemented instead.
During implementation, policy analysis serves the role of a performance measurement and
management tool. It does so by doing a strength and weakness analysis of the implemented
policies. Policy analysis hence provides a tool for corrective action by identifying the facets which
require revisions.
The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.
Policy formulation is essentially a critical phase of the policy process which also is a
definite subject of policy design. The public policy formulation is an integral part of the predecision phase of policy making. This assignment involves identifying and crafting a set of public
policy alternatives to address a problem that a prepared set of solutions is completed for the final
solutions for the subsequent stage, from which decision makers actually choose by judging the
feasibility, political acceptance, costs and benefits. According to Cochran and Malone (1996),
policy formulation is to address the problem, goals and priorities, solution options for the
accomplishment of policy objectives, cost benefit analysis, negative and positive externalities that
are related to each alternative. These stages are rooted into the policy cycle which has become well
known in developing world. The attention of policy formulation is also entrenched in work on
subsystem, advocacy coalition, networks, and policy communities (Weible and Sabatier).
Moreover, policy formulation is engaged in the agenda setting works in some researchers in 1995
to 1998 (Kingdon and Birkland) yet, the policy formulation is the exertion of the policy
communities and policy networks (Howlett and Ramesh, 2002). As such, by recognizing the four
(4) policy actors, understanding their beliefs and motivations, their judgments of feasibility, and
their perceptions of the political context is pertinent for developing world (Kingdon and Birkland).
POLICY IMPLEMENTATION
Public policy implementation is referred by some expert as the building stage. To
understand and appreciate public implementation policies one must first grasp the concept of
public policy. Policy implementation is defined as “what happens after a policy is adopted.
Basically it refers to all that needs to be done to carry out what the Government has decided to do.
Implementation constitutes the action part of the adopted policy and is a critical to policy
outcomes. Actors in the implementation process include: Administrative agencies, Pressure
The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.
groups, Legislative oversight, Judiciary through law enforcements m non-compliance and
Community organizations.
Public policy implementation is the stage of the policy making between the establishment of a
policy and the consequences of the policy for whom it affects. A school of thought in public policy
implementation is that it should be done incrementally or in small stages. The reason for such is
that of people’s responses to changes. Change good or bad is treated with caution, scepticism and
in some cases suspicion. When people feel comfortable with what they know it would be very
difficult to try to sell something new to them so in such instances implementation process can be
faced with steep resistance and rejection by members of the public which can result in failure of
the process.
Implementation process would also involve the court or judicial system. Any new policy
that is created would go through careful scrutiny to ensure that such policy is not in contravention
or violation of current laws. In addition, some policies because of the significant changes that they
would bring about, would need the approval of legislators or parliamentarians to give their seal of
approval. Another aspect of the implementation process is the need by the relevant authorities to
communicate those changes effectively. A change in education policy should be conveyed by the
ministry of education who must ensure that the information is passed on to the curriculum officers,
teachers and finally parents. In short all stake holders must be clear on the content and all aspects
of the policy to be implemented. In implementing public polices the terminology must be written
as simply an explicit as possible so that the ordinary citizen should be able to understand the
terminology; in other words, it should be written in layman’s term so that it would not be
misinterpreted by the public and cause alarm or confusion. The key to policy implementation is
patience and regular reviews to ensure that if there are any loopholes or problems to be fixed.
The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.
CONCLUSION
The formulation and implementation of public policy in any country is usually
accompanied by bargaining, negotiation and sometimes conflict. Public policies as we have seen,
is concerned with creating beneficial circumstances to one group rather than another.
Understanding of the process will enrich the citizenry and should provoke active participation.
Every stage of the process is important and policies may succeed or fail. It has been suggested that
there is sometimes unwillingness to agree and many decision-makers will refer the matters to the
higher levels to avoid having to take the risks involved. History has shown that once policies are
implemented, they are often difficult to terminate. When they are overturned, it is usually because
the policy became outdated, clearly did not work, or lost its support among the interest groups and
elected officials that placed it on the agenda in the first place. Nevertheless, the effects of policies
are solid changes categorized as economic, social, and environmental. It is the expectation that any
impact that results would be the intention and desire however, this would not always be the case
and some adverse impacts can be the outcome. Most policy decisions or amendments are relatively
minor modifications of past policies, a phenomenon called policy succession or incrementalism.
The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.
References:
Bissessar, Ann Marie, Dr. GOVT2031 Public Sector Management Course Material. Pgs. 89111. 2001.
Dye, Thomas R. Policy Analysis: What Governments do, why they do it and what difference it
makes.
University
of
Alabama
Press,
1976.
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122.
https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/american-political-science-review
Fasipe, Olutayo. Public Policy Process- An Overview. Published June 24th. 2015.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/public-policy-process-overview-olutayo-fasipe
Kingdon, J.W. Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policy, 2d ed. New York: Addison-Wesley
Educational Publishers, Inc. 2003.
PPA 590 WOMEN & PUBLIC POLICY. Models of Public Policy Making.
From
http://web.csulb.edu/~msaintg/ppa590/models.htm
Radin, B., Beyond Machiavelli: Policy Analysis comes of age. Georgetown University Press,
Washington, DC, 2000.
Rose, R. Policy-Making in Britain: A Reader in Government. London: Macmillan and New York:
Free Press, 1969.
Theo,
M.
A
Framework
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Public
Policy
Analysis
and
Policy
Evaluation.
http://www.ies.be/files/070904%20Jans%20Policy%20Analysis.pdf
Turner, Mark and Hulme, David. Governance, administration, and development: making the state
work. Kumarian Press, 1997.
The Contributions of Public Policy Analysis to policy formulation and implementation in the public
sector.
Weible, Christopher M., and Sabatier, Paul A. Theories of the Policy Process. Avalon Publishing.
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