A policy is a guide to action taken by members of an organization or institution to achieve an objective or goals that have been set for the organization and deal with problems and issues that the organization faces. According to Idioms, policies are consciously acknowledged rules of conduct that govern the behavior of decisions makers and organization and which determine the kind of action and decisions that they will be taking from time to time It should be noted however that the term policy is often confused with other related terms such as rules, a decision and a procedure.
In the real sense however, the term policy is conceptually distinct from these related terms Policy vs.. Rule A policy defers from a rule in the sense that whereas the policy is flexible, and generally guides actions that should be taken, a rule is written and specifically stipulates what must be done or must not be done. In addition, whereas a rule is usually accompanied with specifically stated sanctions or penalties in case of its preachment, a policy does not have such sanctions or penalties Policy and a decision It’s not easy to differentiate the two cozy a policy in itself maybe conceived of as a big decision.
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But looked at more critically it can be argued that a decision is basically a subset or a component of a policy. This is because within a broader policy framework it may be necessary to make a number of decisions that will help in the actualization or implementation of the policy… Egg as a matter of policy the given might decide that henceforth , all taxi drivers shall be required to obtain a license as a condition of doing their business . O actualities this policy officials within the concerned partners such as the traffic police, local authority in question, will have to make a number of decisions such as how many taxi drivers shall be licensed for a particular zone or area, weather the applicant will be required to go through a driving test or not, the kind of application forms to be completed by applicants, the application fees that should be paid as well as the mode of payment of application fees policy and a procedure Whereas a policy guides the actions and the decisions that should be taken, a procedure spells out the steps that have to be taken in order to implement a policy, for this reason a procedure is the prescribed way of doing something. It applies the ways in which certain responsibilities have to be carried out. Policy gives action… Procedure will give a step by step action to be taken) MEANING OF PUBLIC POLICY Public policy is more specific and it refers to the guides and actions and decisions that are taken by government institutions in order to address or deal with the problems and issues that pertain to the interest and welfare of the general citizenry. According to Thomas dye, in his book, “understanding public policy’, public policy refers to what governments choose to do or not to do.
Governments do many things, such as maintaining law and order, embroiling resources, checking trade cycles, providing social welfare services, managing the economy, managing large scale public enterprises, conducting foreign relations with other countries and embroiling demands for public goods and services. MEANING OF PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSIS According to Thomas Dye, PAP refers to finding out what governments’ do, why they do it and what differences if any it makes. PAP therefore has 3 major aspects Describing government actions or inactions. Finding out the courses of what the government does Finding out the consequences of government action. TYPES OF PUBLIC POLICY public policy can be categorized into five major types: Sector policies, Constituent policies
Regulative policies Distributive policies Re-distributive policies SECTOR Designed to deal with problems and issues that pertain to particular sectors, such as policies to I prove agricultural production or to control certain deceases, or the enrolment of children in schools or to protect the environment from pollution or to improve the state of physical and economical infrastructure. CONSTITUENT These are policies formulated to deal with problems faced by certain groups of people who make particular demands on government services. It is realized that certain groups of people have problems that are peculiar to hem and which therefore require specific intervention by the government to address those problems.
Such groups include, the youth, women, children, people with disabilities, the aged, REGULATIVE These policies are designed to control certain activities or forms of behavior that are detrimental to the interest of people in society. Such policies may include those that seek to control environmental degradation, or to control excessive smoking of cigarettes and consumption of alcohol. Such policies may therefore target institutions or organizations as well as individuals engaging in those undesirable activities or behaviors. DISTRIBUTIVE These policies are intended to determine how public resources are distributed, to various sectors or various regions of the country, or various groups of people in the country. E. G. N Kenya, the policy that established the fuel levy was geared towards ensuring that roads existing in various parts of the country are regularly maintained, similarly in the national budget the government decides on how public revenue generated from taxes are distributed to various regions of the country and various sectors. RE- DISTRIBUTIVE Meant to correct certain imbalances, inherent in the distribution of wealth ND incomes among citizens, in this regard therefore such policies are intended to redistribute wealth away from those who have more to those who have less. The ultimate objective of such policies is to help in narrowing the gap that exists between the rich and the poor.
Such policies will include those that exempt low income earners from paying tax or those that tax luxury consumptions more heavily or those policies t=such as free primary education or those on low cost housing and primary health care. THE POLICY PROCESS The policy process refers to how policies are made in a step by step sequence from the beginning to the end . However it should be noted that in reality the activities involved in the process developed and intertwined a great deal and hence these activities can hardly be kept into their separate water tight compartments IEEE in the real world the activities involved seldom occur in a neat step by step sequence and instead they take place simultaneous each collapsing into the other . Lattice actors and institutions such as political interest groups , legislators, lobbyists, executives, bureaucrats, reports, communicators, policy think tanks, lawyers and judges. All maybe included at the same time in the same policy area. However, for analytical purpose making into its compound parts so that each part maybe explained to enhance a better understanding. 1) Problem identification This is the stage where its realized that there is a problem that needs to be dealt with the policy and problem that needs t be dealt with though policy and hence this stage entails publicizing societal problems and expressing demands for given attention . A policy problem is a situation that produces needs on the part of the citizens for which relief redress is sought from the given.
Therefore problem id involves creating an issue , dramatist’s it , drawing given ATT to it and putting pressure on the given to do smith about it. The actors involved include , mass media, intros grip, political party, electoral candidates, other public office holders . 2) agenda setting Involves proportioning problem and sizes that needed to be addressed bathe given. This is necessary cozy its not sable for the govern to deal with al the problems that have been identified at the same time 3)policy formulation At these stage proposals are DVD to dares the problems and issues that have been given priority at the 2nd stage. ) Policy legitimating. Involves the selection of a policy proposal, developing political support forums, enacting it into law and deciding on its constitutionality. ) The stage of policy implementation. This is the stage where policy Ideas are translated into action so that something is done to actualities the policy itself activities involved include: establishing institutions, making payments, awarding tenders or contracts, hiring personnel, enforcing laws, levying taxes and providing services. 6) The stage of policy evaluation. This is the stage that comes at the end of policy evaluation. It involves porting on the outputs of government programs, evaluating or accessing the impact of government policies on target and non target groups as well as making recommendations on what should be done to improve the situation.
THE EVOLUTION OF POLICY STUDIES Policy analysis can be traced back to the ancient period; it emerged at a time in the evolution of human societies where practical knowledge was consciously cultivated there by prompting an explicit and self reflective examination Of the nexus between knowledge and practical action. As a specialized activity, policy analysis followed changes in social and political organizations that accompanied new production technologies and stable patterns of human settlements. One of the earliest recorded efforts to consciously cultivate policy relevant knowledge occurred in Mesopotamia. In the ancient Mesopotamia city of Our one of the first legal courts was produced in the 21st century Bc. This court outlined what was expected of public servants in their day t day activities relating to provision of public services.
In the 1 8th century Bc the ruler of Babylon with the assistance of professionals, who could be the modern day policy analysts created a court now as the court of Hamburg which was designed to establish a unified and just public court at a time when Babylon was in transition from a small city state to a large territorial state. The court of Hamburg was a set of policies that reflected the economy+mimic and social requirements of stable urban settlements where rights and obligations were defined according to social position. The court covered such aspects of policy as criminal procedure, physician’s fees, property rights, trade, family and marital relations as well as public accountability. In the 4th century Bc in India a thinker known as Cattily produced a publication known as ARTHRITIS, which was a systematic guide to policy making state craft and government administration.
It synthesizes much of what had been written up to that time on material success. In Greece Plato and Aristotle, were engaged in the practical aspects of policy making for example, Plato served as an advisor to the rulers of Sicily while Aristotle tutored Alexander of Macedonia from the time when Alexander was rays old up to the time when he ascended to the throne at the age of 20. In the 1 9th century Ad in Europe in Europe, producers of knowledge began to base their work on the systematic recording of empirical data and this meant that there was a change in the procedures used to understand the society and its problems. This change was reflected in the growth of empirical quantitative and policy oriented research.
In the 20th century ad there occurred the institutionalizing of the social and behavioral sciences, and social science professions. There emerged certain institutions that were expressly devoted to applied and policy related research. These institutions include the policy studies organization for Lattice science discipline, the society for the study of social problems under sociology and the society for the psychological study of social issues under psychology. During this time, producers of policy relevant knowledge were graduates with first and advanced degrees in policy relevant disciplines that worked for government as administrators or worked as consultants or researchers.
The professionals played an important role in the administration of Woodrow Wilson particularly in the First World War. In the same period, universities in the Ignited States and Europe founded new graduate programs ND degrees in policy analysis, in which people could be trained on how to handle matters of public policy. In the first decade Of the 21 SST century Ad, there was increasing recon action that the complexity of problems faced by governments required the systematic use of natural and social scientists to help develop policies and access their consequences. This lead to the call for evidence based policy making by governments in USA, UK and the European Union in general.
It was also recognized that ideological religious and political differences have exerted a harmful effect on policy making thus negative uniqueness have been seen in such areas as health, education welfare, national security and the environment. It should be noted that however that a scholar by the name Harold lasses, is believed to be the founder of modern policy studies because of the book that he published in 1 951 titled “policy studies” THEORIES AND APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF PUBLIC POLICY Comprehensive/ Rational Approach It is associated with the scholar Herbert Simon. Emphasizes on the idea of maximum social benefit. According to the approach public policy should be rational and a rational policy is one that achieves maximum social benefits.
For this reason government should choose those policy alternatives that result in gains to society, that exceed the cost by the greatest margin. In this connection therefore there are two considerations that define maximum social benefits, 1. No policy should be adopted of its cost exceeds its benefits. 2. Among policy alternatives decision makers should choose the policy that produces the greatest benefit over cost. The policy is rational when the difference between the values it achieves and the value it sacrifices is positive and greater than any other policy Rationalism in policy making involves the ululation of all political, economic and social values achieved or sacrificed and not only those that can be measured in monetary terms.
This approach outlines the steps to be taken in rational policy making and which will enable policy makers to arrive at what is considered to be yielding maximum social benefit. 1 . The first step involves the knowledge of all the societies’ values and their respective weights. 2. Knowledge of all the policy alternatives available 3. Involves knowledge of the consequences of each policy alternative 4. Calculation of the ration of benefits to costs for each policy alternative. 5. The election of the most efficient policy alternative The approach has been criticized on certain grounds 1 . Argued that no social benefits are usually agreed upon. In most cases the benefits achieved by public policies are those that only seer. ‘e the interests of individuals or particular groups 2.
Critics argue that there are many conflicting benefits and costs that cannot be compared or weighted for example it’s not possible to compare or weight the value of individual dignity against tax increase 3. Policy makers are not usually motivated to maximize net social benefits, but they only try to satisfy demands for progress. They will not engage in an endless search for that one best policy alternative and instead they will immediately stop the research as soon as they find an alternative that appears to be working. 4. Its argued that large investments in existing programs and policies prevent policy makers from considering alternatives foreclosed by previous decisions 5.
Critics point out the facts that there are certain barriers to collecting information such that the policy maker may not be able to know all the policy alternatives available and there consequences. These barriers include the availability of the information itself, the cost of adhering the information and the time needed to collect the information. 6. It’s not easy to calculate accurately costs and benefits when a large number of diverse political, economic social and cultural values are at stake 7. Critics argue that uncertainty makes policy makers to stick as closely as possible to previous policies to reduce the likelihood of disturbing and unanticipated scones nuances.
Incremental/Disjointed Incremental This approach is associated with the scholar among others: known as Charles Limbo. The approach arose as a reaction to the rational comprehensive approach. It argues that decision makers cannot engage in rationality and comprehensiveness in policy making, by reviewing the whole range of existing and proposed policies, instead constrains of time, information and costs prevent policy makers from identifying the full range of policy alternatives and their consequences. Thus this approach recognizes the impractical nature of rationality and comprehensiveness in policy making, and it favors an approach that is more conservative in nature.
It argues that existing programs and projects should be considered the foundation upon which new programs should be based and changes should be made only when they retain to slight increases or decreases in budgetary allocation or slight modification of existing programs. Policy makers therefore accept the legitimacy of established programs and agree to continue with previous policies. They do this due to certain factors: 1. They do not have the time, information or money to investigate all the alternatives of existing policies and consider all the diverse political economic and social-cultural values that are at stake. 2. Consequences of completely new policies are uncertain thus policy makers find it safer to stick to known policies. 3. There may be heavy investments in existing programs that militate against real radical change.
Such investments may be in the form of money, buildings, administrative practices organizational structures and even psychological I dispositions. 4. Incremental is considered to politically expedient because it is easier to reach agreement when the issue in contention has just about slight increment or decreases in the budget or when the only involved slight modification of the existing programs 5. Its difficult to agree on societal values and goals and hence Xx easier to continue with existing programs rather than impeach in radical changes Group Theory This theory was propounded by scholars such as David Truman and earl Lethal. It obtains from the premise that interaction among groups is the central factor in politics.
Thus individuals who have common interests come together formally or informally so as to try to push the government so as to consider their interest in policy making. The group becomes the essential bridge between the individual and the government and politics is the struggle among groups to influence government policy. According to this theory the role of the political system is to manage group conflict by doing certain things 1 . Establishing rules of the game in the group struggle 2. Arranging compromises and balancing interest 3. Enacting compromises in the form of public policy 4. Enforcing these compromises According to the theory public policy at any given time is the equilibrium realized in the group struggle.
This equilibrium is determined by the relative influences of various interest groups thus changes in relative influence of any influence group will result in changes in public policy so that policy will move in the direction desired by the group gaining influence and away from the group losing influence The influence of groups is determined by factors such s their numerical strength, the resources they control, leadership and organizational ability, internal cohesion, and their access to decision makers. In a nut shell the group theory argues that policy makers constantly respond to group pressures by bargaining negotiating and compromising among competing demands of influential groups and such groups may be farmers, industrialists, consumers, professionals, politicians, workers and students among others.
THE ELITE THEORY (Harmon Ziegler) contrary to the popular view that public policy reflects the interests of the masses According to this theory the masses are apathetic and ill informed bout public policy such that the elite influence mass opinion on policy questions more than the masses influence elite opinion. Therefore policies flow downwards from the elite to the masses and not the other way round The elite theory makes certain fundamental assumptions which can be summarized as follows 1 . It assumes that the society is divided into 2 groups of people. The first group is small in size but has power. The other group is big but does not have power 2. The few who govern are atypical of the masses and government… N addition elites are drawn disproportionately from the higher social economic echelons in society 3. It assumes that movement of non elites to elite positions must be slow and continuous so as to avoid a revolution and that only non-elites who have internalized the basic elite values should be admitted to the elite rankings. 4. It assumes that public policy does not reflect the demands of the masses but the prevailing values of the elite and that change in public policy should be incremental rather than revolutionary in nature. 5. It assumes that active elites are subjects to relatively little direct influence from apathetic masses and that elites influence the masses more than the masses influence the elite
THE PUBLIC CHOICE THEORY (James Buchanan) This theory argues that all political actors such as voters, taxpayers, candidates in elections legislators, bureaucrats, interest groups, political parties and governments seek to maximize their personal benefits in politics the same way they do it in the market place. According to Buchanan individuals come together in politics for their own mutual benefit. And by contract they believe they can enhance their own well being. However when it comes to achieving their interest in politics, they find that they can only adopt a collective approach and this is what justifies public policy. This theory Hereford argues that the government must come in through public policy to perform certain functions that the market palace is not able to handle. Public policy is therefore necessary to deal with market failures. There are two major justifications of public policy 1. The need to provide public good 2.
Ned to deal with externalities 1 According to the theory the government must intervene to provide certain goods and service that must be supplied to anyone is supplied to anyone. The, market cannot provide public goods cozy their cost exceed their value to any individual buyer. An individual buyer would not be in a position to kill there from benefiting e. G. Protection is too expensive for a single individual to buy and even if they buy they cannot exclude 10th from benefiting. Therefore people must act collectively throughout government to provide the common defense. 2. An externalities occurs when an activity of an individual or an organization imposes uncompensated costs o others e. G.. He discharge of air and water pollutants imposes cost on others and thus requires governance response by regulating the activities that produce the internalizes or imposing such as fines so as to compensate for their costs to society. PUBLIC POLICY FORMULATION Its important in the policy process cozy it’s where the government develops proposals for dealing with policy issues and problems. Traditionally it was believed that policy formulation was the preserve of politicians such as members of the cabinet and members of the legislature. It was believed that bureaucrats had no role at all in policy formulation this was during the early stages in the development of the discipline of public administration when the idea of politics administration dichotomy gained sway.
However today it is a well acknowledged fact that they line between the two activities BTW politics ND damn is increasingly getting blurred, thus today bureaucrats or public administrators are as involved in policy formulation ad they are in In its execution, thus the administrators take art in policy formulation in various ways. 1 . They provide facts , data and information that ministers and members of the legislature need to formulate policy 2. In most cases the initiative for policy emanates from bureaucracy because bureaucrats are in constant touch with the people and therefore in a better therefore bi’s may make suggestions and formulate programs Love 3. Due to lack of information, time and knowledge may lay doe…… Hereford the latter that is PA may need to frame rules revelations and by laws It should be noted that policy formulations have certain basis. Lee it must be based on factual data and accurate information.
This information comes from certain sources Internal External Special investigation Research /studies Internal sources Are found within government departments or ministries and may be in the form of periodic reports, statements,and various other materials from various fields EJB. The bureau of statistics, the b of public .NET, the directory of industrial statistic. The data collected is recorded for future u External sources Come from outside government departments or ministries and therefore policy may need disestablish contacts with various groups with their unions and associations so as to get the true picture of the situation. These sources are necessary to check cases of bias that may be inherent in internal sources. E. In India before the S yr development plains prepared, the government consults widely with stake holders such as trade unions farmers association , manufacturers associations and chambers of commerce and industry. Such take hooded are invited to provide their views and if those views are seasonable they will be included in the final document. Special investigation The government may appoint a commission called a committee of inquiry to find facts about policy issue and then make recommendations on policy questions Research and studies Sometimes the giving may commission a study to be conducted so as to investigate a given policy issues and make policy recommendations. Such studies may b conducted wither by government owed research agencies or privately owned bodies. Egg African center for economic growth, institute of public analysis research.
Actors in policy formulation Interest groups- manufacturers associations, trade unions, farmers association. Their main role is to influence giving policy to favor their interest. Donor agencies- IMP, SAID,… They give policy prescriptions to government as a condition to financing policy programs Intergovernmental organizations Political parties. Ruling party formulates policies, opposition acts as watch dogs cabinet legislature judiciary _ courts can be called upon to look at the extent to which a giving policy is found to be lawful.