The final stage of the policy process is the evaluation of policy. Actually, it occurs throughout the policy process as we have to estimate, assesssment, or appraisal of policy which include its content, implementation and effect.
- Evaluation is usually to estimate theconsequences of various policy alternatives fordealing with a problem prior to adopting.-Evaluation activities may restart the policyprocess in order to continue, modify,strengthen, or terminate a policy.-Many of these judgments often based onanecdotal or fragmentary evidences at best andstrongly influenced by ideological, partisan self-interest and other evaluational criteria.-Another common variety of evaluation centerson the operation or administration of a policy.
Questions asked may include:Is the program honestly run?What are its financial cost?Who receives benefits and in whatamount?Were legal standards and procedurefollowed?This kind of evaluation may tell ussomething about honesty or efficiency inthe conduct of a program.
New type of policy evaluation is the systematic, objective evaluation of programs to measure their societal impact and the extent to which they are achieving their stated objectives. We refer this type of evaluation as “Systematic Evaluation”. Systematic evaluation directs attention to the effects a policy has on the public need or problem to which it is directed. Systematic evaluation gives policymakers and the general public some notion about the actual impact of policy and provides discussions of policy with some grounding in reality.
The impact of policy may have several dimensions: 1. Policies affect the public problem at which they are directed and peopleinvolved. Those whom the policy is intended to affect must be defined, whether they arethe poor, small-business people, disadvantaged schoolchildren, petroleum producer, orwhomever. The intended effect of the policy must then be determined. Further, policy mayhave either intended or unintended consequences, or even both. 2. Policy may effect situations or groups other than those at which they are directed.These are called “third-party effects, spillover effects, or externalities”. 3. Policies have consequences on future as well as current conditions, and for somepolicies most of their benefits or some of their costs may occur in the far future. 4. The costs of policies are another element for evaluation. It is fairly easy to calculatethe direct dollar costs for the governmental implementation of policy. 5. It is also difficult to measure the indirect benefits of public policies for the community. The analysis of public policy is usually focused upon what governmentactually do, why and with what material effects.
Problems in Policy EvaluationThe most useful form of policy evaluation is systematic evaluation that tries to determine cause-and-effect relationships and rigorously measure the results of policy.“ measure rigorously” means to seek to assess policy impacts as carefully and objectively as possible. Determining whether a policy is doing what it is supposed to do, is not an easy task as a number of conditions create obstacles or problems for effective accomplishment of policy evaluation. These problems include: - Uncertainty over policy goals - Difficulty in Determining Causality - Diffuse Policy Impacts - Difficulty in Data Acquisition - Official Resistance - A Limited Time Perspective - Evaluation Lacks Influence
-To evaluate program -Intercession with agencies and report to congress -Committee hearing& investigation -GAO will produce -Appropriation process several hundred -Approval of presidential appointment evaluation studies -Committee staffs studies Congressional General Oversight Accounting Office Presidential Administrative-As an instrument Commissions Agenciesof policy evaluation-Set up specially evaluate -Wanna get some notionpolicy e.g. finding fact, of how their programs aremaking policy working and what can berecommendation, or simply done to improve themcreating the appearance of -May lead to majorpresidential concern. program change
The Politics of Evaluation: The Case of Head StartHead Start program was intended to help overcomethe effects of poverty on the educationalachievement of poor children. Head Start programwas highly popular, undoubtedly because it directedattention to poor preschool children.It was designed to provide poor children withphysical and mental health services together withmeals to improve their diet. However, this casestudy can be considered as a good one because interms of its methodological and conceptual base.I suggest you all to look for its whole story for yourmore understanding.
There are suggestive reasons why public policies either do not achieve their goals or do not have impact on public problems that they are expected to have, as followings:1. Inadequate resources may be provided for implementating a policy.2. Policies may be administered so as to lessen their potential effect.3. Public problems are often caused by multiple factors, but policy may be directed at only one or a few of them.4. People may respond or adapt to public policies in a manner that negates some of their influence.5. Policy may have incompatible goals that bring them to conflict with one another.6. Solutions for some problems may involve cost and consequences greater than people are willing to accept.7. Public problems can not be solved or at least not completely.8. New problems may araise that distract attention and action from a problem.9. Many national policies and programs in such as education, environmental protection, economic development and social welfare, are actually implemented by state- and local-government agencies.
. The proposition here advanced is that the response to policies,and demands for changes will be affected by the way in which theirbenefits and costs are distributed or are perceived to be distributed. -Broad benefits and Broad Costs Policies that involve broad distribution of costs and benefits e.g. Social security, Highway construction, Police & Fire protection, Public education and National defense. -Broad Benefits and Narrow Costs Policies that provide benefits for large no. of people but costs at least initially fall primarily upon fairly distinct e.g. control of environmental pollution, automobile safety, inspection of food and meat, regulation of public utilities and safety, policies for industry and coal mine.
CONT’D-Narrow Benefits and Broad Costs-Policies benefit readily identifiable interest groups, thoughthe burden of their costs falls upon taxpayers e.g. veterans’benefits, agricultural subsidies, hospital-construction grants,rivers and harbors projects and special tax provisions.-Narrow Benefits and Narrow CostsPolicies that provide benefit to a well-defined group but at thecost of another distint group tend to product continuingorganized conflict among groups and their partisanse.g. commercial banks and saving and loan associations overbanking policies.
- Policy termination is a severe action with unpleasantand negative connotation.- The evaluation and appraisal of a policy ,dissatisfaction with its cost and consequences, anddevelopment and proliferation of political oppositionmay lead to its termination.- Policy termination is difficult for a number ofreasons.However, problems in connection with current policiesmay be identified, alternatives formulated, and so on,until the policy is modified in some way. The policymay also be so administered as to make it moreacceptable. Whether legislative or administrative inorigin, policy change is more likely than termination.