Public policies are not only difficult to formulate but are even more difficult to implement since general public do not necessarily respond to any policy coherently. Similarly, when it comes to include some changes in an existing policy, similar hurdles are faced by public administrators. They have to look into every conceivable outcome of implementing such changes. It may take weeks and even months of study and discussion on changes in a public policy prior implementation.
A simple public policy cycle followed by public administrators for implementing a policy is based on problem definition, agenda setting, policy development, implementation, and evaluation. In this paper these steps of public policy cycle are briefly discussed and then implementing changes in an existing policy is elaborated in depth. This paper also discussed various difficulties faced by public administration officials while implementing policy changes.
Public policy is a set of principle guidelines for actions to be taken by administrative executive divisions of the country in respect of a set of issues in such a manner that is consistent with the law and the institutional customs. Generally speaking, the foundation of a public policy is an appropriate national as well as considerable constitutional law while implementing legislations like United States’ Federal Code. A general Public policy also includes both judicial regulations and interpretations which are legislatively authorized .
Public Policy Cycle
The classic policy cycle now a days can’t be taken into consideration while formulating and implementing public policy in this modern era. The United Kingdom’s Institute of Government published a paper on the same concept. In that paper it was mentioned that policy cycle is divorced from the reality and there are generally four major reasons to this as following:
- Policy making and changing do not necessarily have distinct stages
- Public policies are not to be just conceived but are to be designed in a well-informed manner
- Policy changing is mostly determined by outcome of the policy in the form of significant events
- The effects in result of policy change are most of the times diffuse, indirect, and require long time in order to appear
Public administration officials used to design their results forward, create a logical agenda and start implementing activities. Now Public administration officials know that the linearity of such approach does not function. In dynamically altering context, Public administration officials can’t really forecast the insight of results. It is basically about diverse levels of prospect.
In a related vein, Public administration officials used to be certain of that they fully understood hence could control the systems through implementing change. Public administration officials nowadays accept that any change develops out of slightly understood interfaces between people, processes and organizations that are functioning in the environment.
The insights of the part of government correspondingly changed. It is recognized that alteration in society is not exclusively about administration service distribution and more related to diverse actors providing public goods, associated with agreed upon areas and delivered in a collective setting or not .
This has concerns for the approach in which policy is not only developed but also changes are incorporated in it by public administrating officials. For instance:
- When a predictable and stable environment changes and a dynamic environment, policy making process needs continuing ‘environment scanning’ concentrating on system courses to retain abreast of the change.
- When consequences move from expectable to dissimilar levels of likelihood, the policy making and implementation process needs suppleness in outcome activity implementation and chain management.
- When responsibility and action change to multiple parties from one party simultaneously, the policy making and changing process needs ‘collective arrangements’.
Implementing Public Policy Change
Realizing public policy change is frequently overwhelmed with the comprehension that prospects frequently fall short when theory is interpreted into practice. This is the result of those emerging and realizing public policy change while having to settle and not fully identifying potential engagements that occur in the real-world application of theory and destabilize the achievement of implementing policy. Unfortunately, a theory is established in idealistic circumstances, therefore forcing public administration officials to frequently overlook aspects that will destabilize a policy in this real world .
The formulation of any public policy change is basically a beginning of many problems for the ones tasked to apply legislative theory in such formulation. A public administrating official will always bring any issue to the light through presenting own ideas as well for solving the situation. Through this way a group of the Public administration officials come together in order to improve a draft reform. This process can bring about a need for conciliation. Public administrating officials, who fundamentally compete with the foundation of policy change, frequently work to destabilize the effectiveness and impact of the resultant policy.
In the meantime, public policy change is mainly profound to post restructuring activities of Public administrating officials. If a public administrating official is persuaded to destabilize a newly passed policy, then he / she can catch means to dissolve the fresh legislative work and create another fresh policy that influences how the original is passed. This governmental option occurs to help diminish unintentional concerns, but misuse allows public administrators to review their forerunners' work regardless of public soppiness in favor of original policy. The society is extremely subject to Public administration officials terminating progress centered on their individual philosophy against public interests.
When public policy change is applied, it must be settled with the already present policy and if an engagement rises, authority requires the existing policy, except precisely addressed in new policy, continue intact, therefore the fresh policy needs to be weakened. Furthermore, unforeseen flaws or misuses of such a policy may bring about such results which are not intended at all that may be extremely harmful to the community.
Issues may occur even after several policy implementation. Surprisingly problems also happen to the most practical to the most suitable policies and funding is the most crucial part and it greatly impedes the overall policy implementation process. Adequate support from the employees and stakeholders is needed to foster the change in any organization.
Evaluating Public Policy Change
The process itself is very complex and involves biasness and sometimes vague situations and cannot be implemented unless it is backed by public support and caters public demands. The policy makers pay heed to all the relevant details and carefully gauge the aftermaths but unfortunately they mostly fail to understand the fact that final agenda almost get vanished once it is screened by the public or they try to avoid the conditions that may result afterwards.
The process has some implicit and some explicit models but in reality it is merely based on gut feelings and cognitive thoughts. Policies are most of the times opinions and guesses.
There are four possible ways that can evaluate the overall process and can help the policy maker to understand pros and cons of any set of policies. When public administration officials observed back later then how can Public administration officials regulate what succeeded or failed? If it is considered that a policy is deemed useless in the recollection: There are four possibilities :
- Sound policy and well implemented ---> success.
- Sound policy and badly implemented ---> failure.
- Bad policy and well implemented ---> success but rarely
- Bad policy and badly implemented ---> compound failure
When it comes down to it practice, it might prove problematic to disentangle the grounds of policy feat or, supplementary failure. Furthermore, implementation might take a longer time to achieve the forecasted outcome and even extended for the influences to perform. Desirable political provision and a suitable budget might not be continued over in long term. Significances contend and can change radically over more than a few years.
Public administration officials are responsible for not only formulation of public policies but also for successful implementation of such policies. For successful implementation of any public policy, care has to be taken by the officials in analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of the public policy. In case if it appears that a public policy requires some changes then the changes must be made by the officials in a well-informed manner while including all the conceivable factors. The difficulties faced by public administration officials in implementing policy changes are that general public do not generally welcome changes and there may be many factors which are left out while formulating any change in a public policy. This becomes evident here that in order to successfully implement a change in a public policy, the public administration officials have to thoroughly analyze the situation and then formulate the best possible change.
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