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Tools to understand the political and policy context & engage with policy makers Kent Buse, PhD John Young Oxford, November 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Tools to understand the political and policy context & engage with policy makers Kent Buse, PhD John Young Oxford, November 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tools to understand the political and policy context & engage with policy makers Kent Buse, PhD John Young Oxford, November 2006

2 Overview What is policy? What explains policy change? What is the relationship between researchers and policy makers? Tools to understand the political context of policy change Tools to influence the policy process

3 What is Policy?

4 Policy – some meanings Label for field of activity/space Expression of general intent Specific proposals Decisions of government Formal authority/legislation Program Output or outcome Model or theory Hogwood & Gunn, 1984

5 According to Peter John - the interplay between institutions, interests and ideas. John P (1998) Analysing Public Policy. London: Cassell.

6 Two types of policy research 1.Research for policy – about policy content (what should be done) and outcomes (policy evaluation) 2.Research on policy – about the policy process (explanatory, usually not evaluative, focuses on how and why questions)

7 Research on policy Research on policy seeks to understand how the machinery of the state and political actors interact to produce public actions....The main tasks … are to explain how policy- making works and to explore the variety and complexity of the decision-making processes. (John, 1998, p1)

8 Context Situational factors Structural factors Cultural factors Global factors Actors The state The market Civil society Content Objectives & aims Assumptions Values Distributional impact Why do issues reach the agenda? Who formulates policy? How is policy implemented? What makes policies change? Process Walt & Gilsons framework

9 Political Situation Analysis Systematically gather political intelligence associated with any policy reform on: Content – the what of policy Context – the social, cultural, temporal environment in which decisions taken Process – how decisions are made – the rules of the game – how we do business Actors – those who affect and are affected by decisions

10 Bangladesh Case Study Learn lessons from poor performance to inform strategy Proposed Policy –Integration of two wings of ministry responsible for family planning & health services –Substantial body of research supported integration: cost-effectiveness, management, service delivery –Agreed by key health officials and subject of donor conditionality Context: –Political volatility and partisan confrontation –Limited government ownership of health policy Superficial analysis identified two loosing groups but did not anticipate opposition – no plan to –Alter costs by offering to change elements of policy –Modify perceptions of costs –Compensate losers Partial implementation reversed after affected FP managers mobilized many groups Donors –Confronted deep-rooted interests involved in distributing rents –Strategy relied on sensitizing opponents of evidence-based virtues, failed to mobilize potential allies or shift dialogue to new forum, and took non-negotiable stance –Suspended disbursements for a few months and then backed down Unanticipated opposition to no-brainer reform

11 Health Policy Reform History Conventional evidence for policy necessary but insufficient for change –Policy failure –Losses fall on organized & powerful groups –Gains distributed among marginalize Analysis of political-economy dimensions of change important determinant of success Requires more systematic approaches to understanding political dimensions & influencing change

12 Policy content Substance which details its constituent parts: Aims and strategies of the policy Empirical basis of the policy (evidence) Underlying values and paradigms Technical content (evidence informed) Administrative feasibility of the policy

13 Policy Consequences Distribution of benefits and costs in terms of: Stakeholders Scale Characteristics Intensity Timing, etc

14 Actors/Stakeholders Individuals or groups with interest in the issue –Some role in making or implementing decision –Affected by policy decision –Specific to each policy reform and context Stakeholder analysis –Identify stakeholder groups –Looking for independent groups/individuals with some influence or potential influence –Break down categories as far as feasible

15 Bangladesh Integration Example: Ministry of Finance Planning Commission Prime Minister Minister of Health Secretary of Min of Health Deputy Secretary Ministry of Health Health reformers in Ministry Cadre of Family Planning Officials Medical Association Donors Press Academics Select service delivery NGOs

16 Assessing Stakeholder Power: Tangible –Votes –Finance –Infrastructure –Members Intangible –Expertise –Charisma –Legitimacy –Access to media & decision makers Political Assets:

17 Interests, Position & Commitment Interests – what would a stakeholder gain or lose from the proposed reform? Interests determine position: supportive, neutral, opposed Commitment – importance attached by stakeholder to issue

18 LEVEL OF INFLUENCE POSITION OpposedNeutralSupportive High Medium Low Position Map

19 LEVEL OF INFLUENCE POSITION OpposedNeutralSupportive High DG FPMin of Finance Planning Commission Prime Minister Minister of Health Secretary of Health BMA Some DPs (WB, DFID, EC, USAID) Medium Admin cadre FP cadre Class III/IV employees Print press DGH Health cadre Reformers in MOHFW Secretariat Low Additional Secretary Health NGOs FP NGOs Academia Some DPs (WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, CIDA, SIDA, GTZ, Dutch Co- operation) Bangladesh Integration: Pre-2001

20 LEVEL OF INFLUENCE POSITION OpposedNeutralSupportive High Secretary DG FP FP cadre Class III/IV workers Ministry of Finance Prime Minister Planning Commission Minister of Health BMA Medium FP NGOs Admin cadre ? Press? DGHSome DPs (WB, DFID, EC, USAID) Low UNFPACIDA SIDA GTZ Academia Health NGOs Some DPs (WHO, UNICEF, Dutch Co- operation) Positions Oct 2001-May 2003

21 Policy process Agenda setting – why some issues considered by policy makers Formulation – which policy alternatives and evidence is considered, why evidence ignored Adoption – who is involved in deciding, formal or informal decision-making Implementation – who will implement, how will implementers change policy to suit their aims, are implementers involved in decision-making Evaluation – whether and why policies achieve their aims The way policy is initiated, developed, negotiated, communicated, implemented

22 Policy context Situational: change of leadership, focusing events, new evidence, etc. Structural: resource allocation to intervention, organization of service delivery – public private mix, etc. Cultural: prevailing attitudes to situation of women, technology, equity, tradition, etc. International: place of intervention on international agenda, aid dependency, levels and modalities, migration of staff, ideas and paradigms, etc. Systemic factors which effect policy

23 Political Context Analysis Systematically gather political intelligence associated with any policy reform –Contextual opportunities & constraints –Formal & informal processes through which decisions made –Identify stakeholder groups –Assess political resources of groups –Understand interests, positions and commitments of groups Systematically assess political palatability of specific policy alternatives

24 Content ContextActorsProcess Context PositionsPower Players Perspectives Strategies to change Successful formulation & implementation of policy Political situational analysis Policy Engagement Framework

25 Research-practice gap model A gap that needs to be spanned

26 The two communities model Researchers & policy makers: separate communities?

27 Advocacy coalition model Or allied across apparent divides?

28 Strategies for Policy Engagement Develop political strategies to change Position: deals to make to change – alter policy, horse trading, promises, threats Power: provide supporters with funds, personnel, access to media & officials Players: change number of actors by mobilizing and demobilising, venue shifting Perceptions: use data and arguments to question to alter perspectives of problem/solution, use associations, invoke symbols, emphasise doability

29 Policy Process Mapping

30 General Context issues – domestic and international. Specific Policy Issues (i.e. the policy cycle) Stakeholder analysis –Arena: government, parliament, civil society, judiciary, private sector. –Level: local, national, international What is their Interest and Influence? Process matrix + political matrix Political and administrative feasibility assessment [Sources: M. Grindle / J. Court ]

31 Policy Process Mapping FormulationImplementation Politicians Cabinet Government Bureaucrats Civil Society International

32 Other Policy Mapping Tools Policy Process Mapping RAPID Framework Stakeholder Analysis Force-Field Analysis Outcome Mapping More complex tools: –Drivers of Change –Power Analysis –World Governance Assessment

33 RAPID Framework

34 Stakeholder Analysis Why: To understand who gains or lose from a policy or project. To help Build Consensus. Steps: 1.Identify Stakeholders 2.Analysis Workshop 3.Develop Strategies Keep Satisfied Engage Closely Monitor (minimum effort) Keep Informed High Power Low High Interest

35 Forcefield Analysis Identify what you want to achieve Identify forces for and against change Identify which are most important Develop strategies to reinforce those for and overcome those against

36 Policy Process Workshops Looking at internal policy processes – what works in DFID. Small, informal workshop with 7 staff. Participatory pair-wise ranking of factors influencing the success of 8 policy processes. Worked quite well. In DFID - agendas and processes rather than documents are key

37 Outcome Mapping OUTCOME MAPPING: Building Learning and Reflection into Development Programs Sarah Earl, Fred Carden, and Terry Smutylo

38 More Complex Tools Civil Society Index (CIVICUS) Country Policy & Institutional Assessment (World Bank) Democracy and Governance Assessment (USAID) Drivers of Change (DFID) Governance Questionnaire (GTZ) Governance Matters (World Bank Institute) Power Analysis (Sida) World Governance Assessment

39 Summary –Evidence-informed policy challenging –Policy about interests, institutions & ideas –Variety of tools to understand these factors - range in sophistication/complexity and ease of use –Tools to use the understanding to engage in policy processes – less well developed –Extent to which the tools are helpful depends on creativity, tenacity, inside knowledge – advocacy coalitions useful –You can get more info at …

40 Further Information Mapping Political Contexts: Tools for Policy Impact: Best Practice in Policy Making: Understanding Policy Process:

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