FACULTY OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT OF GOVERNANCE, PEACE AND SECURITY STUDIES
TO : MR G. MHANGO
FROM : BSS/23/17
COURSE TITLE : PUBLIC POLICY
COURSE CODE : SSPP 4704
ASSIGNMENT NUMBER : ONE
TASKkvcfgfvggffffffff: : TO DEFINE WHAT PUBLIC POLICY IS.
DUE DATE : FRIDAY 16TH NOVEMBER, 2018.
In each and every organisation, whether Public or private, there are always policies that are being followed in order to achieve the objectives of that particular organisation. These policies are always formulated and implemented by people who are on the high offices who are responsible for it. Policies are not new and they can be traced way back from the 1st century when people started civilisations. According to Anderson (2015), policy is defined as a purposive course of action that an individual or group consistently follows in dealing with a problem. Before the governments were there, policies were already there and they were the ones which made things running and problems being solved. In other words, this simply means that policies are order that government. The coming in of governments brought in public policies. These public policies are created by government in order to cope up with the demands of people in a particular country and also the changed troubles originating in countries. Public policies are formulated and implemented by the government wherever it exists. In each and every country, people are affected, either directly or indirectly, positively or negatively, by the policies made by government. Some policies are also very important for the well being of the citizens in a country. This clearly shows that public policies are good for the running of the country although they also have some disadvantages. This also clearly shows that public policy is very complex and don’t have a single definition but rather it is defined different by different people. This essay will clearly define what public policy is.
As it has already been established that there is no single definition for public policy, according to Hogwood and Gunn (1984), there are a number of elements and some distinctions which can help public policy to be well understood but this paper will discuss five of these. To begin with, in order to understand exactly what a police is, it must be distinguished from a decision. According to Lorraine (2017), differentiate the two in such a way that policy is a collection of ideas that are meant to express broad goals or standards while a decision is meant to initiate or implement an action to help see the policy goals met. This simply shows that a policy is not a decision but the two goes together. In relation to this, Public policy is also defined as a set of inter-related decisions taken by a political actor or group of actors concerning the selection of goals and the means of achieving them within a specified situation where those decisions should, in principle, is within the power of those actors to achieve (Jenkins, 1978). This definition also shows that the actors first made the policy the decision is made on how to implement those policies.
Secondly, policy is less readily distinguishable from administration. Parker (1960) distinguished the two by saying that public servants should be kept in their place and not allowed to interfere in policy-making and on the other hand states that administration is the expert and the impartial carrying out of policy decisions. In relation to this, Dunn (2009), according to his understanding of public policy, it is clear that public policies are governmental decisions, and are actually the result of activities which the government undertakes in pursuance of certain goals and objectives. He further states that public policy formulation and implementation involves a well-planned pattern or course of activity as it requires a thoroughly close knit relation and interaction flanked by the significant governmental agencies such as the political executive, legislature, bureaucracy, and judiciary. For instance policy making process may involve several key aspects such as definition of the problem to be addressed, the goals the policy is designed to achieve, and the instruments of policy that are employed to address the problem and achieve the policy goals(Dunn, 2009).
In addition, public policy can be understood that it involves inaction aswel as action. According to Friedrich (1976) defines public policy as a proposed course of action of a person, group, or government within a given environment providing opportunities and obstacles on which the policy was proposed to utilize and overcome in an effort to reach a goal or realize an objective or purpose. Similarly to Friedrich’s definition of policy on the issue of action and inaction, Rose (1976) defined public policy as government’s program of action to give effect to selected normative and empirical goals in order to address perceived problems and needs in society in a specific way and therefore achieve desired changes in that society. These definitions clearly show that policy really involves action and inaction and without it cannot be formulated and implemented. Another scholar, Dye (1972) in his book “understanding public policy” states that every organization or an individual is ordered to take a decision within a policy framework which can be a one-time action or not. There are a number of decisions which a policy has that is taken to fulfil its aims.
The other element in understanding public policy is the fact that policy involves behaviour as well as intentions. According to Hogwood and Gunn (1984), illustrates that focussing on public statements is not always accurate guide to actual motives but rather the behaviour and intentions of those involved in formulating and implementing these policies matters the most. According to Dye (1972), Public policy is defined as whatever governments choose to do or not to do. In other words, what the government intends to do and this shows the behaviour of the government which in this case is said to be the one formulating policies. Another scholar Gerston (2010), also defines public policy as the principled guide to action taken by the administrative executive branches of the state with regard to a class of issues, in a manner consistent with law and institutional customs. This again states that public policy is what the government intends or decides to do. For example, the Salima-Lilongwe water project is one of the intentions of the government in order to solve the water problems in the capital city.
Lastly, policy must be understood to have outcomes which may or may not have been foreseen. Policy needs to embrace both what it is intended to deal with and what is going to happen as the result of that intention. The policy makers must do a feasibility study before starting implementing its policies. Since policies can also be thought of as the instruments through which societies regulate themselves and attempt to channel human behaviour in acceptable directions, the authority must expect a lot from the public since it is not everyone who can understand since some are illiterate and this may lead to conflicts. For example, the Malawi government was removing vendors from the streets of its cities and town and this resulted into violence between the authority and the vendors. Public policy making is deemed not only a technical function of government but relatively complex interactive process attributed by the diverse nature of socio-political and other environmental forces. These environmental forces that form the policy context lead to the variation in policies and influence the output and impact (Lasswell, 1956). These outputs and impacts are what are in this context regarded as seen or unseen.
In a conclusion, it has been established that public policy is a very complex and has no single definition. It has also been discovered that policies are goal oriented and that they are formulated and implemented to achieve these goals and objectives which the government or institution has in view for the benefit of workers and the general public. In other words, policy is formulated in order to achieve desired goals that is taken or seen to be in the best interest of all members of society. There are a number of examples of policies a government can make which are of benefit to the whole society and some of them include; access to clean water, good health, high employment, an innovative economy, high educational attainment, decent and affordable housing and many others. Again it has been noted through this essay that there are a number of elements and distinctions which are very important in understanding public police and five of these are; policy has to be distinguished from decision, that policy is less readily distinguishable from administration, policy involves inaction as well as action, policy involves behaviour aswel as intentions and lastly that policy have outcomes which may or may not have been foreseen.
Anderson, J. E. (2003),Public policymaking: An introduction. Boston: Houghton.
Dye, T,. (1972). Understanding public policy, Englewood cliffs, New Jersey: prentice Hall,.1972,pp xii, 305
Dye T.R. (2012),Understanding Public Policy, Harlow: Pearson Longman.
Dunn W.N (2009),Public Policy Analysis: An Introduction, Harlow: Pearson Longman.
Friedrich C.J. (1976), Policy Making, Structures and Processes, Niilm University.Gerston L.N. (2010),Public Policy Making: Process and Principles, New York: M.E Sharpe.
Lasswell,.H. (1956). The decision process. College park, Maryland: university of Maryland press.
Hogwood,.B and Gunn,.L, (1984). Policy analysis for the real world,oxford university. Oxford
Lorraine,. C. (2017), https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/08/wisconsin.lawRose R. (1976),The Dynamics of Public Policy, Sage Publications Ltd:London.