What Policy Process?
New policies and policy decisions can arise in, and are handled in, a multitude of different way and can be driven by many different economic, social and political pressures. Mark Turner and David Hulme were spot on when they said that 'What must be banished is any lingering idea that policy is some highly rational process in which expert technicians are firmly in control using highly tuned instruments to achieve easily predicted outcomes. Such an image is inappropriate for OECD countries let alone the developing world...'
Policy is made by human agents who will have multiple, often conflicting and sometimes changing policy goals. And they may enter and exit the policy process at different stages. Policy is also about decisions ... and decisions are about power. The IfG's Catherine Haddon notes that 'Policy-making is not a linear process. It involves extremely complex interactions between influencers, decision-makes, and implementers of policy'.
But ... policy makers can maximise their chances of success by undertaking research, carrying out robust consultation, and deploying effective communication. They can also avoid re-inventing any wheels by learning lessons from the many reports that have been written by their predecessors. Follow the links below to access this advice.
Policy Making - Useful Checklists & Advice (1)
Here are four very useful checklists and sets of questions which should be thought about before embarking on, and whilst designing, significant new policies or changes of direction:
- These World Class Policy Tests - were first distributed in 2013 and encapsulate much of the advice in this website about policy development – and more besides.
- Do you have Big Hairy Audacious Goals? This is a list of six key questions which policy makers should address before announcing ambitious (audacious even) initiatives
- A Policy Checklist - is an earlier, simpler version of the World Class Policy Tests mentioned above.
- The X Factors: An admirably brief Whitehall & Industry Group publication listing the Key Factors that underlie Good Decision-Making.
And, although aimed at a military audience, The Good Operation offers great advice and checklists for those involved in operational policy-making.
Policy Making - Useful Checklists & Advice (2)
Here are some other reports which contain much valuable and detailed analysis and advice:
- Professional Policy Making for the Twenty First Century
- Modern Policy-Making: Ensuring Policies Deliver Value for Money
- Better Policy-Making: Examples of good policy-making and sound advice from practitioners
- Better Policy Delivery and Design
- Complex Systems and Why They Go Wrong
- Policy Making in the Real World
- Making Policy Stick
- Making Policy Better
- Better Public Services through Experimental Government
- Better Policy Making
The best policy makers know how to speak truth to power.
Policy managers need to develop strategies, aims and objectives which inspire those who work for them. Leading and Managing Policy Teams (part of my Senior Civil Servant's Handbook) brings together a wide range of practical leadership and management advice from experienced policy professionals.
Civil servants may need to consider these issues, for which advice will be found by following these links.
- Navigating Whitehall and Gaining Collective Agreement, and
- Responding to Lobby Groups and Lobbyists.
How to Influence Policy Makers
- Nick Hillman's Ten Commandments
- Advice from a civil servant
- Top 20 things scientists need to know about policy-making