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Handbook on security sector governance.3


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Handbook on security sector governance.3

  1. 1. CHAPTER 4 POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION,AIMThis chapter outlines the process of formulating and implementing policy. Section 4.1explains why policy is important. Section 4.2 examines the political dimensions of thepolicy process. Section 4.3 offers some observations on the context in which policiesare developed and implemented. Section 4.4 discusses the policy managementprocess and describes its application in the security sector. It focuses on seven keyissues: 1) the importance of human and institutional capacity; 2) policy communication,dialogue, and debate; 3) policy analysis; 4) factors influencing the decision to conduct amajor policy review; 5) policy development; 6) policy implementation; and 7) oversight.4.1 WHY POLICY IS IMPORTANT Policy in any sector is important for four inter-related reasons: It provides a clear series of guidelines within which strategies can be framed and activities can take place. It thus helps discipline government behaviour by minimizing ad hoc and costly decision-making processes and striving for the optimal use of resources in pursuit of specific objectives. It provides people with a series of normative and practical guidelines via which government can be assessed and held accountable for its actions. It confers predictability on the activities of government.4.2 THE POLITICS OF THE POLICY PROCESSES The policy process is often equated with the formal institutional arrangementsthat are its output – legislation, policy documents, improved organizationalmanagement, and the like. In reality, the policy process is part of a complex politicalprocess that reflects institutional relationships that are inherently political, subjective andpsychological. Where the security forces have become deeply embedded in thepolitical system and economy, simply writing new laws or undertaking narrowinstitutional reforms will have only a limited effect on progress toward democratic civilcontrol of the security sector. It is therefore important to focus on changing the entireenvironment within which the security sector operates. 56
  2. 2. African experience with reforming the security sector at the end of the 20thcentury and beginning of the 21st century underscores the importance of improvedgovernance, greater transparency, respect for rules-based systems, and promotion andprotection of human rights. Several areas are particularly relevant in this regard: Addressing the constitutional dimensions of civil democratic control. Developing civilian expertise in security issues, among politicians, government civil servants, and civil society. Developing participatory and collective methods of managing the security sector that are consistent with African culture and participatory democracy. Creating opportunities for networking and dialogue between members of the security forces and civilians. Agreeing the division of labour among the different security forces. Ensuring professional autonomy of the security forces (Box 4-1). Any effort to enhance the policy process in the security sector in Africa must bebased on: 1) accountability to the people; 2) participation, facilitated by an accessibleprocess and a culture of inclusivity; 3) government [?] legitimacy; 4) transparency; 5)efficiency; and 6) ownership. To this end, national policy processes must ensure that: The process itself is understood to be as important as the outcome of the process. Box 4-1. Why Professional Autonomy of the Police Service Matters “Political manipulation of the police subverts the rule of law and undermines the professionalism of officers, deterring the best recruits and reducing police capacity to combat crime effectively…. The South African police force was previously an intrinsic part of the state apparatus of repression, with officers involved in widespread and systematic human rights violations. “Now, other governments across the SADC region are using tactics resembling those of the apartheid era, in politically misusing the police to suppress public meetings, demonstrations or campaigning by opposition parties and government critics. In the majority of countries in the region, police harass, disrupt or discourage the activities of opposition leaders, trade union officials, youth activists, human rights monitors and journalists. This political misuse of the police violates international human rights guarantees and standards for policing. Evidence of such misuse can be seen in statements of political allegiance made by police officials and in reprisals against officers who carry out their duties in a fair and impartial manner. “Several international human rights standards oblige law enforcement officials to carry out their duties fairly and impartially. …[I]nternational standards and treaties entitle everyone to the equal protection of the law, without discrimination. [For example, the] UN International Code of Conduct for Public Officials states that public officials have a duty to act in the public interest and that: ‘Therefore, the ultimate loyalty of public officials shall be to the public interests of their country as expressed through the democratic institutions of government.’ The public interest lies in policing being conducted fairly and impartially, without regard to political affiliation.” Source: Amnesty International, Policing to protect human rights: A survey of police practice in countries of the Southern African Development Community, 1997-2002, London, 2002, pp. 13-14. See also International Code of Conduct for Public Officials (Article 1), (, adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 51/59 of 12 December 1996. 57
  3. 3.  The management and administration of the process is credible and respected. Conflicting aims and views are mediated in a manner that enriches the policy debate and does not jeopardize its progress. This may necessitate conflict resolution and consensus building among key stakeholders. To promote transparency, participation, and credibility, all relevant stakeholders have access to necessary information. The process is open to the diverse views existing in society. Dissenting views are valued as enriching the policy debate and as a means of ensuring that the opinions of various sectors of society are represented. Ordinary people are empowered to make effective contributions to policy development and implementation by giving them the necessary tools to participate. The entire process is accessible to ordinary citizens: physical proximity, the languages used, the absence of jargon and overly sophisticated language, the provision of relevant information on the aims and objectives of the process in a timely manner. Priority is given to public education during policy development and implementation in order to assist the public in understanding their rights and obligations. Efforts are made to use appropriate media and other methods to reach out especially to the disadvantaged and marginalized. The process is continuously reviewed and evaluated to confirm that operating principles and minimum standards are adhered to. All actions violating the values enshrined in the output of the process should be unequivocally rejected. Universally accepted rights must be reflected in all processes.4.3 THE POLICY CONTEXT Policy is developed and implemented in two different types of contexts: 1)periods of significant change – either in economic and political systems or in therelevant institution itself and 2) periods where systems are essentially stable. Both ofthese situations have a different bearing on the possible outcomes of a policy process,and it is important to consider the following factors when engaging in a process oftransformation: Nature of change. A decision to undertake major policy changes is more easily made during a periods of significant change. In periods of relative system stability, changes tend to be slower and more incremental. At the same time, it may be easier to implement major changes under conditions of greater system stability. The stakes. During period of change, the political and institutional stakes are high. In the security sector, failure to deal with the need for significant change has led to many governments being overthrown. In times of system stability, the stakes tend to appear moderate. 58
  4. 4.  Level of attention. Policy changes tend to draw less attention when they are “chosen” during periods of system stability. Responses to the introduction of a new policy also affect the context in which thepolicy is developed and implemented. Two factors are especially important here: The costs of the policy to be implemented. If the costs of the policy are to be borne by many people but the benefits concentrated in the hands of a few (purchases of new cars and houses for ministers for instance), then the response of the public is likely to be strongly negative. Costs that are borne by a small sector of the population while the benefits of the policy are enjoyed by a larger number of individuals (levies on business to support an economic development programme, for instance) public reaction is likely to be muted. Because the security forces have the capacity to disrupt the constitutional order, it is important to convince them they will benefit professionally from the proposed changes, although some individuals may in fact lose status or economic opportunities. The pace of policy implementation. Policies that are implemented rapidly and affect many people evoke substantial public response (raising the price of bread overnight for instance). However, policies that are gradually applied evoke much less public response (standardization of driving licenses for example). Since improving governance in the security sector is essentially a matter of institutional and attitudinal transformation, it is likely to proceed relatively slowly. This will provide breathing space for the security forces themselves to adjust; it may create dissatisfaction among segments of the population if certain types of behavior, such as human rights violations, are not altered rapidly. Whenever a policy is going to be introduced or modified, it is critical to take intoaccount the sentiments of political society, civil society, the state and the public. As faras possible one must identify the major role players required for the success of thepolicy (both inside and outside the organization concerned), determine their attitudestoward the proposed changes, and analyse their influence over the formulation andimplementation of the policy.224.4 THE POLICY MANAGEMENT PROCESS Figure 4-1 illustrates a generic policy process and the discussion belowelaborates on key aspects of that process with reference to the security sector. Whilethe procedures described below will always apply to all stakeholders engaged inmanaging a policy process, the process itself should not be managed mechanistically.Nor should it be over-managed. Rather, there should be sufficient latitude to take into22 The major actors in each portion of the security sector are discussed in Chapter 2. Additionalinformation on the roles they play in managing and overseeing the security sector will be provided inchapters 5-8. 59