Public Policy Formulation and Management by Avit Theophil


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Making public policy is an important act. It flows from a sacred public trust bestowed on a select few individuals. Public policy decisions affect thousands, even millions of people. However, it seems that many, if not most, public officials lack the critical thinking skills to exercise good public policy decision making.

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Public Policy Formulation and Management by Avit Theophil

  1. 1. DEPARTMENT: BUSINESS AND PUBLIC MANAGEMENT DEGREE: MASTERS OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT COURSE CODE: PAM 501 COURSE TITLE: Public Policy Formulation and Management FIRST NAME: AVIT SURNAME: THEOPHIL Contact information: Tel: +255 768 852 190 Email: P.O. Box 21, Karagwe, Kagera Tanzania. DATE OF SUBMISSION: 30th June 2013
  2. 2. Factors that can hinder effective decision making process Making public policy is an important act. It flows from a sacred public trust bestowed on a select few individuals. Public policy decisions affect thousands, even millions of people. However, it seems that many, if not most, public officials lack the critical thinking skills to exercise good public policy decision making. Public policy1 decisions are often the result of political pressure from special interests who wield real or perceived electoral power. Sometimes they are the result of “political correctness” or fads. Other times they are quid pro quo for support on a favored measure of the decision maker. It is no wonder the old adage coined by Otto Von Bismark still rings true today, “Laws [public policies] are like sausage. It is better not to have seen how either are made.” In any decision-making process, the following factors can serve as limitations: Firstly, information: Reliable and up-to-date information is a necessary ingredient for effective and reliable decision – making. A major source of information available to public policy makers includes administrative intelligence (special services), newspaper reports, and findings of judicial panels. Secondly, communication: There may be a break in communication between policy formulators and the implementation agencies. When for instance, cooperation is lacking between specialists, there will be no room for sharing ideals. Also precedence: Previous actions and policy rules may automatically narrow the deliberations of the decision makers. This is often the case in situations where there are specific standard operating procedures. Moreover, perception: The selective discrimination of the policy issues which is often dependent on the policy makers perception of the policy problem may be regarded as private problem by the policy actors and conference reports (particularly government sponsored ones). Consequently, policy makers often than more not their assessment on the information they receive which more often than not end up in the formulation of wrong policies that will not lead to the achievement of the derived result. Lastly, procedural Rules: When there is a standard operating procedure, it becomes extremely difficult for policy actors to deviate from the established thought pattern. Conclusively, decision making is immensely significant in the study of administration. Decision making is the process through which one optimal(best/most likely to bring success or advantage) alternative/choice is made from several possible alternatives/choices of solutions for a given issue/situation that will ensure maximum benefit and least risk than the others who were not selected. 1 It is said that the moment a decision involves two or more people, the issue, out-grows personal or private decision to become public interest or public policy for a common good. P e t e r M u n g a i
  3. 3. It involves choices also between the result and the ways/methods or techniques to get to that result. It also involves the cost and benefit analysis of the choices to choose from and the one that suits the best is then considered. Successful decision making techniques and methods and experience of administrators in the same has always ensured success. The peculiar problems of policy implementation in developing countries, using Kenya as an example. DEFINITIONS Public policy is an attempt by a government to address a public issue by instituting laws, regulations, decisions, or actions pertinent to the problem at hand. Numerous issues can be addressed by public policy including crime, education, foreign policy, health, and social welfare. While public policies are most common in the United States, several other countries, such as those in the United Kingdom, implement them as well. The process to create a new public policy typically follows three steps: agendasetting, option-formulation, and implementation; the time-line for a new policy to be put in place can range from weeks to several years, depending on the situation. Public policies can also be made by leaders of religious and cultural institutions for the benefit of the congregation and participants, and the term can also refer to a type of academic study that covers topics such as sociology, economics, and policy analysis. Implementation involves all of the activities designed to carry out the policies enacted by the legislative branch. These activities include the creation of new organizations – departments, agencies bureaus, or the assignments of new responsibilities to the existing organizations.” Thomas R. Dye Policy implementation encompasses those actions by public and private individuals and groups that are directed at the achievement of goals and objectives set forth in prior policy decisions. And implementation as a sequence of events trigger off by a policy decision, involving the translational tasks to be carried out by a variety of factors and agencies and substantial coordinating activity to ensure that resources are available and that things happened as intended The following are problems of policy implementation in Developing Countries Firstly, administrative problems, numerous problems are connected with the administration of development plans and specific development. These includes long delays in execution of the plan, increased costs over the projected costs because of delays and inflation, inferior construction, low yields on investments, unnecessary disposal of resources among a number of small and uncoordinated job. There are three other sources of administrative confusion and incompetence. a. The lack of trained experts to administer the complex programme and projects so vital to economic development.
  4. 4. b. Lack of political support for civil servants and bureaucrats. c. The casual way in which third world bureaucrats manipulate or alter statistical data to conform to political requirements. Secondly, the problem of the world economy, serious lack or inadequate funds to finance projects or programmes that all third world governments would like to establish. It is argued that although they can depend on foreign assistance for loans or grants, but these sources attach stringent conditions to these loans. Most often, they infringe on the political power of developing countries. Moreover, political constraints. Political and economic constraints in the third world countries can alter the quality of lives in many ways. When government makes laws, however, it turns round to aid and abet the noncompliance of such laws by the public. Corruption can be traced to the administrative styles of many countries. For example, the ridiculously low salary of civil servant makes them easily vulnerable to receiving bribes. Added to this is the highly unequal distribution of political power or lopsidedness of political power, which is often the case in plural societies. Lastly is implementor inclinations, it includes lack of will, lack of initiatives, lack of term of spirits, corruption, lack of motivation as well as lack of accountability. In summary we can say that the problems facing policy implementation in developing nations and particularly Kenya can be seen in four administrative problems, the problem of the world economy, the problem of the world economy, and implementer inclinations.
  5. 5. Reference Thomas R. Dye: POLICY IMPLEMENTATION ppt. [] Henry Clarke Kisembo: POLICY FORULATION AND PROCESS ppt. Peter Mungai: Public Policy Formulation and Management. Training Manual.Mount Kenya University of Tanzania, School of Bussiness and Public Magement, 2013. DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES FOR EFFECTIVE POLICY IMPLEMENTATION David J Hunter, Professor of Health Policy and Management, and Linda Marks, Senior Research Fellow, School for Health, Wolfson Research Institute, University of Durham Queen’s Campus