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Week 11: Law and Policy Lecture 11:2 The Public Policy Process Bernadette Connaughton Department of Politics and Public Administration.

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Presentation on theme: "Week 11: Law and Policy Lecture 11:2 The Public Policy Process Bernadette Connaughton Department of Politics and Public Administration."— Presentation transcript:


2 Week 11: Law and Policy Lecture 11:2 The Public Policy Process Bernadette Connaughton Department of Politics and Public Administration

3 Introduction OUTLINE Sustainable development challenges – Issues such as diverse as climate change, social inclusion, planning, energy, transport, environment – SD recognised in public policy (International, EU, National, Regional, Local) BUT – Are sustainable development challenges ‘wicked problems’? – SD challenges can involve collective action problems – Is there sufficient attention? What is on the government agenda for action? Focus is on the public policy process – What is public policy, characteristics, influences, making sense of the public policy process

4 Sustainable development is… A concept of sustainable development must remedy social inequities and environmental damage, while maintaining a sound economic base Global/International EU National Local

5 ‘Wicked’ problems No quick fixes or simple solutions, need innovative, flexible approaches Problem may never be solved definitively, contradictory, changing requirements ‘Wicked’ – symptoms of other problems Stakeholders have different views, different understanding of problem

6 Public policy challenges Climate change and clean energy Conservation & management of natural resources Education Fiscal stability Global poverty Planning Public health & food safety Social inclusion, demography & migration Transport

7 Public policy is… Public policy is the sum of government activities…[that have] an influence on the lives of citizens Public policy decisions determine who gets what, why, when, how Public policies take effect through – strategies, laws, services, finance, taxes

8 Characteristics of public policy Public policy involves government Public policy involves decisions to act (& not to act) Public policy entails the commitment of resources Public policy has a normative dimension – Vision of the way things should be – Influence of values

9 Influenced by… Beliefs, values, ideology, norms, culture, finance, equity, experts, elite opinion, interest, democracy, organisation, experts, evidence, prescription, bargaining, dispute, consensus, compromise, procedure, strategy, bureaucracy, ideas, institutions, influence, planning, identifying solutions, choices, discussions, coordination, joined- up, pragmatism, resources, instances, interpretation…. What else?

10 The people The Oireachtas Gov Elections Parties NGO’s Media Participation Issue Agreement Min PA Formulation / Decision making Decisions carried out Out put, Out come Implementation of the Will of the People Freedom of Opinion The Irish Political System

11 Process Understanding the problem Testing success and making it stick Developing solutions Putting solutions into effect

12 5 stages of the policy cycle & their relationship to applied problem solving Applied problem solving 1.Understanding problem 2.Developing solutions 3.Choice of solution 4.Putting solutions into effect 5.Monitoring results Stages in Policy Cycle 1.Agenda Setting 2.Formulating policy 3.Decision making 4.Policy implementation 5.Policy evaluation

13 The Policy cycle

14 Agenda Setting Problem recognition & definition Use of mass media Difference between the agenda ‘for talk’ (systemic) & the agenda ‘for action’ (institutional) How can issues reach the agenda? Indicators, events, feedback crisis proportions Achieve scientific recognition, evidence emotive aspect wide impact likely power & legitimacy fashionable in some way

15 Formulation researching policy issues consulting with interests & stakeholders identifying policy goals identifying possible action assessing costs & benefits of alternatives Finding solutions

16 Decision-making Sifting through the options Action or non-action? Taking a decision – Government – Civil servants Examples of policy: Delivering a Sustainable Energy Future for Ireland The Energy Policy Framework 2007 – 2020 Sustainable Development - A Strategy for Ireland - 1997

17 Implementation Concern with outputs and outcomes Drafting/passing legislation Allocating resources Designing programmes Publicising programmes Delivering services ‘Is it easier to put a man on the moon than put a homeless family in decent accommodation?’ (Parsons, 1995) Factors Nature of the problem Extent of behavioural change required

18 Evaluation is policy achieving goals? Is it cost effective? Is it fair/equitable? Can it be improved? Should it be changed?

19 The policy process in context (will provide as a handout) Wider public context Political context How does the problem / policy fit with government manifesto / priorities? What policy conflict / priorities need to be resolved? Is a cross-cutting approach needed How can evidence best be presented? Who else within government needs to be involved & how What is the impact of devolution? What is the role of the EU? How should work be organised How should front-line staff be involved? How / when should policy effectiveness & contribution to corporate objectives be reviewed? What needs to happen to ensure policy becomes self- sustaining? What sort of cross- cutting intervention is required (if any)? What is the impact on other existing and developing policies? What are the costs / benefits of different options? What evaluation systems and performance targets are needed? What are the alternatives to legislation & regulation? What training and support for front-line staff is needed? What IS changes are needed? Understanding the problem Putting solutions into effect Testing success and making it stick Developing solutions Policy Process How and when should any political representatives be involved? Are ministers signed up? What is the strategy for presenting policy? Who needs to be told what, when and how? How the stakeholders be kept committed and involved? What are the quick wins? What are the desired policy outcomes Who are the key stakeholders and how should they be involved? What are the needs & views of those the policy seeks to influence / affect? What have the experiences of other countries been? What are the risks to the policy and how can they be managed? What is the impact of possible solutions on equal opportunities, business, women, environment etc.. How can different solutions be tested What evidence is needed and / or available to test the “real world” problem? Organisational context

20 Questions What are the policy challenges? – How would you prioritise, rank? At which level does responsibility, authority lie? – International/EU, national, regional, local Is it possible to find a common response? – 27 member states (EU) – Ireland Take an issue of your choice and attempt to trace the policy cycle. – Issue definition

21 Challenges, Choices, Solutions

22 Hill of Tara & the M3

23 Energy Nuclear and Renewables

24 Planning

25 Political time frame: life in government is short – Pragmatism today or pro-active for tomorrow? Public policy making (‘government in action’) can be as complex as the challenges it attempts to resolve – Policy cycle approach a useful framework to ‘make sense’ of the policy making – Imperfect in that it can mask its complexity

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