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Kent Buse, PhD John Young Oxford, November 2006

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1 Kent Buse, PhD John Young Oxford, November 2006
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 It would be interesting to know what you wrote down and in particular how you conceptualised what you mean by policy. I would guess that collectively you used the term policy in quite a variety of ways. Hogwood and Gunn found that the term ‘policy’ is used in a variety of ways. Broad area: foreign or economic policy – broad fields of governmental activity General expression – lacking specificity – World Bank – a world free of poverty - sometimes even rhetorical – real intentions may differ from stated objectives (war in Afganistan and Iraq – threats to US part of a plan to secure access to vast oil reserves? Specific proposals – like reducing the incidence of a particular disease by a specific percentage over a given length of time Decision of government - government of Botswana decision to introduce Hep B vaccine into routine immunisation programme Formal legislation – act of Congress in the US – legitimising – but not necessarily meaning that action will follow – particularly effective action Programme – ‘programme on access to treatment and care’ might be part of a country’s HIV policy which could include formal legislation, organization, resources Output or outcome – what government actually delivered or achieved – differs from intent Model or theory - e.g., government undertook x policy to produce y – implicit in this way of thinking about policy is the idea of cause and effect, government introduces out of pocket charges for utilisation of health services will increase the availability of funds for health services Policy can be thought of as any of the above – but what is striking about the way that the word is used in general parlance is that it focuses on the content of policy.

5 According to Peter John -
‘the interplay between institutions, interests and ideas.’ John P (1998) Analysing Public Policy. London: Cassell. There are numerous definitions. This definition of policy reflects three of the main theories of how policies change or remain the same since it emphasises the contributions of: Institutions – meaning the formal structures of goverance and their related norms and ‘rules of the game’ – ‘how we do things round here’; Groups and networks – meaning the patterns of association and alliances between participants in the policy process (e.g. between interest groups); Ideas - referring to the role of argument, discourse and advocacy in the policy process, including the role of research and evidence. This is where academics are said to play a particularly important role. Traditional policy definitions tend to highlight explicit ‘problems’ and the ‘decisions’ taken in response to them. However, I find Peter John’s broader, more political definition, with its awareness of the fact that conflict is endemic to policy and policy making, and that policy can also relate to decisions not to do things, closer to my experience

6 Two types of policy research
Research ‘for’ policy – about policy content (what should be done) and outcomes (policy evaluation) Research ‘on’ policy – about the policy process (explanatory, usually not evaluative, focuses on ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions) The predominant form of policy research is focused on the ‘content’ of policy (the ‘what’) – i.e. research ‘for’ policy – research designed to help policy makers decide what to do faced with a particular problem. It includes very valuable evaluative work on which programmes ‘work’ best; i.e. research on policy outcomes. It is work which engages with questions such as: is integrating STD and MCH a good thing; is it effective and cost-effective compared with alternative ways of delivering these services? It does not seek primarily to explain how and why the policy came into existence, how the policy developed, how it was altered in light of the experience of implementation and how these processes affected its impact and eventual fate. This is research ‘on’ policy.

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) There has been a neglect of research on policy. When we do consider processes, we tend to do what is known as ‘process evaluation’ which is usually an attempt to evaluate how fully a particular policy or programme is being implemented ‘on the ground’ and what the participants think about the policy and the process. Process evaluation tends to treat the existence of the policy or programme as a ‘given’ or the starting point of the research. It rarely attempts to study how the particular policy or programme came to the fore in the first place. It is complex and very messy. A whole range of variables come into play to account for policy change. Gilson and Walt have produced a framework for organizing some of those variable

8 Walt & Gilson’s framework
Context Situational factors Structural factors Cultural factors Global factors Actors The state The market Civil society Content Process They propose a simple analytical model in which ‘content’ is only one aspect of policy which has to be taken into account. The model is designed to help policy makers and researchers understand better the process of health policy reform retrospectively and to plan for more effective implementation prospectively. The policy ‘triangle’ is not a unifying theory of policy change – it is simply a very effective way to organise a wealth of information to help understand how policy decisions are made. The framework sensitises the analyst to the likelihood that policy change is the product of many factors. Objectives & aims Assumptions Values Distributional impact Why do issues reach the agenda? Who formulates policy? How is policy implemented? What makes policies change?

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 Unanticipated opposition to ‘no-brainer’ reform
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 (Minister, Prime Minister, Planning Commission, medical association)

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 As noted, there is usually the most information available on this aspect of policy Take a look at the policy reform that you selected. What is the content associated with that policy in terms of what it aims to achieve and how it proposes to do so. Think about the underlying values and evidence. Make a note of these and discuss with your partner. If no partner and your neighbor also has none – please discuss.

13 Policy Consequences Distribution of benefits and costs in terms of:
Stakeholders Scale Characteristics Intensity Timing, etc As noted, there is usually the most information available on this aspect of policy Take a look at the policy reform that you selected. What is the content associated with that policy in terms of what it aims to achieve and how it proposes to do so. Think about the underlying values and evidence. Make a note of these and discuss with your partner. If no partner and your neighbor also has none – please discuss.

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 Identify 15 or so stakeholders Need to think about the implications/consequences of the policy – those affected, those who might take action, those who could be mobilized – Pay attention to those who can block policy adoption or implementation Pay attention to individuals and organizations

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 Identify 15 or so stakeholder groups pertinent to your chosen policy

16 Assessing Stakeholder Power:
Political Assets: Tangible Votes Finance Infrastructure Members Intangible Expertise Charisma Legitimacy Access to media & decision makers Of the stakeholders you identified, select ten and make an inventory of the major assets and characterize each as having low, medium, high power

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 Determining interests can be complex – sometimes concealed Chose five of the groups and list their interests – what they stand to gain or lose Given interests – determine their position Consider the commitment – a powerful actor may be relatively indifferent

18 Position Map LEVEL OF INFLUENCE POSITION Opposed Neutral Supportive
High Medium Low

19 Bangladesh Integration: Pre-2001
LEVEL OF INFLUENCE POSITION Opposed Neutral Supportive High DG FP Min 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)

20 Positions Oct 2001-May 2003 LEVEL OF INFLUENCE POSITION Opposed
Neutral Supportive 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? DGH Some DPs (WB, DFID, EC, USAID) Low UNFPA CIDA SIDA GTZ Academia Health NGOs Some DPs (WHO, UNICEF, Dutch Co-operation) A sophisticated position map would model the shifts prospectively given specific changes, for example, the modification to the content of the policy Stakeholder analysis limitations Only as good as the data and analyst (access, tenacity, Says nothing about policy content and process

21 Policy process The way policy is initiated, developed, negotiated, communicated, implemented 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 As indicated about ‘policy process mapping’ Implementation phase - arguably most important and neglected area of policy – if policies are not implemented or are diverted or changed at implementation – then something is wrong and policies won’t have their desired outcomes

22 Policy context Systemic factors which effect policy
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. A huge number of contextual variables may play a role in whether or not a policy changes or remains the same. These factors are complex and unique in time and setting.

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 Positions Power Players Perspectives
Policy Engagement Framework Political situational analysis Content Context Actors Process Positions Power Players Perspectives Strategies to change The next few slides are on policy influencing Context Successful formulation & implementation of policy

25 Research-practice gap model
Either as a ‘gap’ between research and policy/practice which somehow has to be spanned, or A gap that needs to be spanned

26 The two communities model
… as two ‘cultures’ divided from one another. I came to the conclusion that it was only partly helpful to think of researchers and policy makers as ‘two communities’ or ‘two tribes’. In part, this came about through observing and taking part in debate within and between departments and agencies. Yes, it is true that policy makers and researchers do different types of work in different settings, but it was apparent to me that on particular issues there were also competing coalitions of academics, officials, politicians, journalists, pressure groups, etc. who largely agreed on the nature of the problem, its likely causes and of the feasible solutions. Researchers & policy makers: separate communities?

27 Advocacy coalition model
Thus the main divisions frequently cut across the ‘two communities’ on the really important issues. As a result, it is usually possible to find researchers who support what the government is proposing to do and those who oppose it; likewise, among officials. This picture is of two Palestinians at the barrier between Jerusalem and the West Bank. Another reason for rethinking the ideas of ‘two communities’ lies in the fact that researchers and officials are quite often, and increasingly, similarly educated, specialised and knowledgeable – Kelley Lee described the international health care financing network of the 80 and 90s as one involving individuals who rotated between World Bank, USAID, Harvard and Abt Associates – the east coast conspiracy – there is a revolving door 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 Power: undermine legitimacy, expertise or motives, characterise them as self serving, refuse to share information, withhold power resources Players: Undermine by dividing (find stakeholder subgroup to convent), challenge legitimacy of opposition Perception: power of ideas and perception of a problem and solution is critical for getting issues on agendas and rallying implementers and other stakeholders.

29 Policy Process Mapping

30 Policy Process Mapping
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 ] BACKGROUND Good News – Evidence can matter (e.g. bednets vs malaria). Other cases around Room. DFID Research Policy Study. Bad News – But … often major gaps (e.g. HIV/AIDS). Resistance despite clear evidence. How to bridge the gap? Key Question: When does evidence matter? We still need a systematic understanding. ODI RAPID / GDN Bridging Research and Policy Project – 50 case studies. PAPER IN PRESS - Handout Exec Summary / Soon on web CHALLENGE – Massive amount of work into 15 minutes

31 Policy Process Mapping
Formulation Implementation Politicians Cabinet Government Bureaucrats Civil Society International Identify key actors that influence SME policy Create Matrix: Organizations and Key Steps of the Policy Process Describe Organizations’ formal position in the policy process Describe Organizations’ informal influence on the policy process Give a number rating (1=low; 5=high) for the influence each organization has on different parts of the policy process. Relative location of Research

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: Steps:
To understand who gains or lose from a policy or project. To help Build Consensus. Steps: Identify Stakeholders Analysis Workshop Develop Strategies Keep Satisfied Engage Closely Monitor (minimum effort) Keep Informed High Power Low 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 Civil Society Index (CIVICUS): Civil society's structure, impact, environment and values Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (World Bank): Governance institutions, policies, economic management Democracy and Governance Assessment (USAID): Players, interests, resources, objectives, rules, institutional arenas Drivers of Change (DFID): Structure, agents, institutions Governance Questionnaire (GTZ): State-society relations, political system, political culture, politics and gender, economic policy and political framework of markets, international integration Governance Matters (World Bank Institute): Voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law, control of corruption Power Analysis (Sida): Power and its distribution World Governance Assessment: Participation, decency, fairness, accountability, transparency, efficiency

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: Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘The Tipping Point’ describes how social epidemics spread. It is about the different types of people who are involved in the policy process: connectors, who know a lot of people; mavens, who hoover up and digest information; and salesmen who are very good at ‘selling’ ideas. He describes research into US news anchors in the run-up to the elections in the United States, which showed how very small differences in the way they behave on screen can give very strong messages to the public. He talks about how the context affects how people behave. In another experiment in the US, researchers sent student on errands all over the campus, and arranged for them to pass somebody in distress who clearly needed help and anaysed the factors which influenced whether the students stopped to help or not. The most important factor seemed to be whether the student was in a hurry or not. He describes how some ideas seem to be “sticky” - the factors that determine whether people remember specific bits of information. Gladwell describes how the conjunction of these factors create the “tipping points” when ideas suddenly spread and are adopted.


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