Formulation of policy is a critical phase of policy formulation process serving as an explicit subject for the design of the policy. The main topic for this paper is public participation in the formulation and implementation of the public policies. This goes a long way to outline the various ways by which the general public can participate in the policy formulation and implementation process. The paper also contains a discussion of benefits of public participation and the way in which it leads to achieving social justice, equity and an understanding of the policies. The formulation of the public policy is part of a pre-decision phase of the policy making. It includes crafting of the priorities, options and goals in combination with the costs and the benefits of the options and also the externalities of each of the options. This process also involves the identification of the alternatives and also the tools of the public in order to address a problem. The policy hypothesis stage is therefore a very crucial stage that requires both the involvement of all the stages of stakeholders beginning with the law makers, the administrative unit and the people such laws will have a direct effect to.
There formulation process of the public policy requires the participation and also the motivation of different actors and new ideologies that shall indeed paly their roles in the design processes of the policy. William Blanchard quotes “strict equality means equal shares for everyone. Need requires that shares be distributed in a proportion in measure with the needs of the people. That effort expended requires to be distributed in proportion to the effort people expend.”. This shows the quest for social justice equity with a consideration of the stakeholders’ preferences and the statutory mandates.as indicated, many nations and societies often suffer from of tensions and local conflicts because of the lack of equitable of resource distribution. To one’s surprise, by failing to incorporate the desires of the general society while formulating policies, there is a likelihood of always facing a lot of challenges while trying to implement the specific policies.
In, any of the democracies, the participation of citizens in the policy making process and also in the service design has been majorly debated about but it is often infrequently realized. However, in both the developed and developing countries, there has been notably some major achievements in the public participation in the policy formulation. This also involves the advocacy for the abundant public policy literature enhancing collaboration between the stakeholders and the general public. The most effective public engagement by the citizen-centric public service is through the support of the political body for a genuine power devolution. It makes even a society with a diverse nature of backgrounds and beliefs to be united as they all feel that their interests are always met by the authority. The ministers and the heads of agencies also have a major role to play in this section.
James Barnes outlines the various ways in which a president can use to communicate his policies to the citizens as follows; by issuing an executive order, through a speech, issuance of a formal statement. This requires the general public participation and the government analysis of the responses of the general public toward the policies that the president enforces. He can also issue the policy by answering the questions asked at the press conference as a way of public engagement with the policies in question. In addition, the policy can also be administered through the adoption of a recommendation from the task force or National Security Council and also by signing the directive of a classified national security. In this way, the president engages the various administrative bodies who also in turn engages the public participation in the policy formulation and implementation. Finally through a direct communication to an appointee personally, by using a telephone call, communication through a memo or a message in the internet, issuance of instructions are some of the options through which a ruling president can use to issue his policies. In case the government wants to test the general public reaction towards the aforementioned policies, then they may an indirect subordinate communication as a method to leak the information. This gives them the time to listen to the general public reaction towards the policy in question.
There is a very powerful ethical ring to the public servants exhortations. Engaging the public in the policy formulation is a very key thing because it goes long way to be the heart of decision making and also of a democratic governance. This also upholds a strong sense of citizenship which goes beyond the abstract perception of citizenship with a disconnected and discontent bearer of rights, immunities and privileges. This sis key in building a thick responsibility of citizenship which fosters a sense and an urge for a collective agency in order to achieve a common goals or goods. This thus helps to develop a shared understanding about the nature of a society that we need to develop and also inhabit.
There are main reasons, of course of community engagement in the policy formulation affairs other than the ethical democratic imperatives and the promotion of a powerful conception of citizenship. Through the citizen engagement in the policy formulation process, the governments are likely to benefit from a range of expertise knowledge far beyond their realm of information and also inn terms of expertise and advice. This also creates opportunities to provide a public education about the policy alternatives. By such engagements, the governments are not only in a position to devise better appreciation of public opinions but also they have the chance to seize and to challenge their opinions and contributions. This also goes hand in hand with shaping and informing the preferences of the people. It is also a very fertile and an inexpensive way of testing the likelihood of the public reaction to the policy proposal. This is makes the citizens of a nation to feel part of the administrative and the legislative bodies operating within the land. Therefore, the most important purpose for a genuine citizen engagement is legitimization, which is to determine the policies and also the decisions that the government will finally settle on. This reduces the cases of civil unrest since the policies here are for the people and by the people themselves.
A detailed example of the implication of public participation in policy formulation: The best scenario is where the ministry of transport wants to impose a new traffic policy that will improve the services of the taxi drivers. Involving the taxi operators in the formulation stage would become very important since the taxi operators best knows what they need and how best at the ministry can assist them. This therefore becomes very effective compared to a system when they are only being informed of a new policy in operation.
In conclusion, it is possible for any nation or ruling government to achieve social justice, equity in the distribution of resources and peace with the general public. This can be easily achieved by an active public participation in the policy formulation and implementation. This engagement of the public also enables the various stakeholders and the government officials to become accurate on the specific needs of the public. It is also a way to minimize time wastages to do another budget of sensitizing the public on the policies or conducting a referendum when the citizens refute the policies. In addition, it also relieves the government of tension with the general public since the people also tend to have a sense of ownership of the policies. It is always therefore very appropriate to consider an active involvement of the general public in order to efficiently implement the policies. At the end of the day, all the organs involved in the formulation and implementation will be very satisfied and contented. This relieves extra logistics and any complexities that may arise during implementation stage of the policies.
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