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Independent Consultant-Public Policy
Introduction What is Policy Sources of policy formulation Policy Formulation process Features of a good policy Policy formulation in developing countries-Pakistan’s Experience
Policy formulation is the privilege and responsibility of the elected members
faithful implementation is the duty of the public servants.
civil servants play a pivotal role in policy formulation as they prepare/vet the draft policy.
any badly drafted public policy will adversely impact upon your service delivery.
presentation explains the way policies are formulated, implemented and monitored.
“whatever governments choose to do or not
Thomas Dye (1987)
“Purposive course of action or inaction undertaken by an actor or a set of actors in dealing with a problem or matter of concern” Anderson (1994)
Formal documented statement of intentions and actions of an organization/authority Either to remove certain deficiencies or to improve the conditions in any particular area It could be a part of an overall development policy i.e. National Development Strategy
Or it could be a specific departmental policy i.e. Food Security Policy or National Housing Policy
Societal structural changes-demographic transition, economic transformation, social reengineering, globalization etc may necessitate policy formulation Regime change- new political elite may have new vision, mission and agenda for which new policies are needed Donors/world institutions-their aid may be contingent upon certain policy changes, structural reforms
Global commitments-state enters into international conventions which normally need local policy formulation Pressure groups-industrial ,agricultural lobbies, social causes advocacy groups can force state for this Court Orders-Superior courts sometimes pass orders for formulating clear policies or review an existing policy while hearing any case
Not a random act, rather a deliberate action Approved by public representatives Not a piece of legislation but has sanctity Applicable by state apparatus Distinct from strategy to implement it A value judgment of the regime
Initiation of policy process Policy formulation Policy implementation Policy monitoring and evaluation
Competent authority takes cognisance of a situation for any reason i.e.
Awareness of a precarious internal security situation. Pressure on the government to provide cheap housing Need to change conditions affecting employment situation. Pursuit of food security objectives as part of national program
Decides to formulate a policy to address the issue An in-house or multisectoral task force is constituted
PHASE- 1 Establishment of a task force PHASE -2 Diagnosis of the situation PHASE-3 Production of a first/second draft of the policy PHASE- 4 Presented for endorsement.
The concerned ministry gets its approval from the competent authority, usually the minister in charge In case of multisectoral policy- the cabinet If it affects the provinces-Council of Common Interests (CCI) Once approved ,it is formally notified
Once approved ,the civil servants execute it Prepare strategy to implement it-procedures or programmes or both Correct interpretation is the essence of ethics Go for positives, empathy while interpreting it Remember every precedent is not to be followed
Essential element of policy cycle Effective in achieving the objective ? Take mid-term corrections where needed Periodic revision of the policy
Legal/Constitutional Validity Internal Consistency External Consistency Feasibility-technical/administrative/financial Financial Viability Economic Benefits Social Acceptance Political Commitment Environmental Compliance
Any proposal made in a policy document against the law of the land is ab initio void Constitution is a social contract between the state and the society and you as the public servants and as government servants are under oath to protect it That’s why the opinion of the Ministry of Law on all policy documents is mandatory. Never skip it whatever may be the urgency
It is comprehensive-covers all issues/aspects No two parts of a policy contradict each other
Indicates the areas/people intended
Must have a repeal clause States date of its application Has institutional implementation mechanism
Twin criteria a. In sync with the overall aims of state b. Does not conflict with other policies
In case of inconsistency ,go for a. Policy revision or b. Consultations for resolution
Proposed actions are technically feasible Administrative wherewithal is available Financial resources can be earmarked Contingency provisions are in place
Projects proposed be self financing- do apply user charges for any facilities provided
Provide exemptions for poor sections of society
Application of user charges creates ownership People will demand transparency also
If financially not viable, the proposed projects must have economic benefits Does it create employment opportunities?
Opens up new areas?
Lifts marginalized sections of society? Costs-benefits ratio must include these spinoffs
In harmony with the social norms and values
However ,some norms must be changed
Should not be discriminatory on any basis However affirmative action is permittedquota for rural areas
Prepared in consultation with the stakeholders Institutions/stakeholders clearly identified Their respective roles stated
Institutional set up for effective coordination
Intra-party as well as inter-party consensus Basically job of the minister
However your inputs will be crucial
Look at it from their point of view However do not compromise on fundamentals
Mixed Bag Procedural mismatch
Structural flaws Evaluation failure Personality imprints Global influences
Pakistan can boast of some very good policies formulated and executed during its 65 years of formal existence as a nation-state It has some glaring examples of poorly designed or badly executed policies. Some times it did not have a policy at all for a long time in the field in crucial sectors like agriculture and industry, land use, transport etc as is now. Examples of good policies-Pakistan Poverty Reduction Strategy, National Growth Strategy
Policy formulation is the exclusive domain of the elected representatives. However they do not take interest in its formulation Normally they just rubber stamp the policy drafted by the bureaucrats, creating crises of legitimacy It create crises of ownership, not properly reflecting the wishes of the people Who will monitor its implementation if those who were supposed to make it just abdicated their role ?
Every institution is responsible to formulate policies belonging to its sphere with suitable inputs from all the concerned stakeholders However in case of some very important national issues such as defence, national security, foreign policy etc the concerned ministries have been abdicating their responsibility and allowing others to call the shots
Some of the features listed before for judging the relevance and efficacy of a good policy are sadly missing in most of the cases These include internal/external inconsistencies, lack of stakeholders’ participation, absence of evaluation mechanism etc
Every policy must have some clearly defined evaluation mechanism not only to gauge its impact but also to learn lessons for future Unfortunately this crucial element of policy formulation has been missing in most of our policies
Policies should reflect the wishes of the people through their elected representatives and owned by the institutions even if there has been a champion behind any policy However in case of Pakistan most of the policies are known by the name of the person who championed it and invariably go to cold storage when the personality is gone
Globalisation is affecting the policy formulation directly as well as indirectly in every country. This is all the more penetrative where the state is suffering from capacity and legitimacy deficits Pakistan is no exception to this wholesale blind following of global actors’ prescriptions which can be visible in almost all major policies formulated
This is not bad if the policies formulated have been in sync with the wishes of the people but not in accordance with the wishes of foreign forces with one size fits all label
Best designed policies are doomed because of their poor implementation Basic reason for this lopsided implementation has been the absence of commitment which in turn stems from lack of ownership Capacity deficit at the implementation level i.e. bureaucratic ,has been the major cause for this failure
Study the manifestoes of all the major political parties taking part in an elections Critically appraise their proposed policies about various challenges the country is facing.
Compare them with existing policies and find out the differences in these two sets
Prepare a draft policy about any area of your interest