Functions of social policy
Social Policy cannot be analysed solely by looking at individual measures; rather these can only be understood by looking at the underlying role and function.
A first step is to recognise a fundamental shift during the evolution of social policy. The origin of social policy in the modern sense is to be seen in the so-called social question, arising as a result of the industrial revolution. Society, then, had been more than ever characterised by a fundamental split between classes. Even if societies before had by no means been societies of equals they had means of dealing with the inequalities, i.e.
the early clientelism,
the carried religiously motivated doing good (and punishment and strict exclusion),
the mutual help of the guilds.
Capitalism, now, lacked any of such support systems or even motivations for any social support systems and was thus extremely vulnerable. Nevertheless, the lack of such a motivation is true only on the individual level. As capitalist society this systems clearly showed a need and it was this, what the capitalist state had to deliver � a political system, bridging the ever-widening gap between the classes. Seemingly neutral, the aim was to maintain the hierarchy and exploitation of one class by the other.
In particular five functions of social policy can be seen against this background.
1. Protective function
Protection against negative consequences arising from working life; including intervention into the economic system
Protection of the employee to maintain the ability to work
2. Function of distribution
Determination of income as means or reproduction
3. Function of productivity
Securing the ability to work and securing against abuse of the workforce (including health, education etc.).
Including as well the provision of societal and social stability (industrial peace)
In this context as well the provision of military forces.
4. Function of societal politics
social policy having a socio-political function or being social politics
5. Function of re-distribution
Welfare and society
Social policy draws on sociology to explain the social context of welfare provision. If we are trying to improve people’s welfare, it is helpful to try to understand something about the way that people are, and how welfare policies relate to their situation. Some writers have gone further, arguing that because welfare takes place in a social context, it can only be understood in that context. This has been particularly important for ‘critical social policy’, which begins from a view of social policy as underpinned by social inequality – particularly the inequalities of class, race and gender. Issues of inequality are considered in a companion file on Welfare and equality.
- The normal family
- Lone parents
- Teenage pregnancy
- Patterns of work
- The labour movement
- Nations and welfare
- Immigration and nationality
The social structure
Societies are ‘structured’ in the sense that people’s relationships follow consistent patterns. Fiona Williams has argued that social policy is dominated in practice by the dominant values of society – the issues of family, work and nation. 
Family A range of policies are built around the idea of the ‘family’ as a man, woman and children. Examples are child benefits, education and child care. Some countries have policies built on the idea of the man as ‘breadwinner’, with support based on the idea that the marriage is permanent and the woman will not work. Families which deviate from the norm – for example, poor single mothers – are likely to be penalised, though there may also be anomalies in the organisation of benefits (e.g, when promiscuity is accepted and stable cohabitation is not).
Work Many systems of social protection depend on a stable work record for basic cover in unemployment, ill health and old age. Workers who misbehave – for example, by striking or being dismissed – may be penalised.
Nation Most systems discriminate against non-citizens, and many have residence rules for particular benefits or services. Immigrants are likely to have different, and often second-class, services.
These issues are discussed further in the sections which follow.
The normal family
“Normal” does not mean “average”; it means “conforming to social norms”. The ‘normal’ family consists of two parents with one or more children, but it is increasingly untypical in developed countries. Several factors have contributed to this trend:
- ageing populations, which mean that increasing numbers of households consist of elderly people without children;
- the delay in undertaking childbirth, which means that more households consist of single women or couples without children;
- the growth of lone parenthood; and
- household fission – the tendency for households to split, because of divorce and earlier independence for children.
Social policies sometimes seek to reinforce the normal family, by rewarding normal conduct or penalising “deviant” (non-normal) circumstances. Rewards include subsidies for married dependants and children; penalties include requirements to support one’s family, and legal and financial deterrents to divorce. At the same time, the assumption that couples live more cheaply than single people may lead to two single people getting greater support: cohabitation rules, treating people living together as if they were married, are used to ensure equity with married couples.
The rise in lone parenthood is mainly based on three factors:
- Divorce, which has been increasing as women have gained independence in finance and career;
- Unemployment. Unemployment is correlated with divorce, partly because it strains the marriage, and partly, perhaps, because it has undermined the role of the traditional male breadwinner.
- Cohabitation. This effect is a statistical artefact, rather than a real change in parental status.
There is no reason to attribute the rise to teenage motherhood (which, like other forms of motherhood, has tended to fall).
The position of lone parents who receive social benefits has been controversial. The liberal individualist position is that if people choose to have children it’s then up to them to look after their family. The collectivist position, and to a large extent the dominant position in continental Europe, is that children are other people’s business as well. There is also a strong body of opinion which considers that the interests of the children override any moral concerns about the status of the parents.
Teenage pregnancy was the norm in previous generations, but it has become more common for women to delay childbearing. The reasons for the delay, and for falling birthrates, include
- the effect of urban society on the cost of having children;
- the changing role of women;
- the economic effect of female employment, which leads to a loss of income if women leave the labour market to have children;
- increasing education and later marriage; and
- the availability of contraception.
Teenage pregnancy is highest when these factors do not apply to the same degree. This accounts for the apparent association of some social problems with teenage pregnancy.
Patterns of work
The incorporation of people into the formal labour market has been central both to policies to deal with poverty and exclusion, and to the development of social protection. However, in many circumstances people are only partly integrated into the labour market. Their situation is characterised as
- a “dual labour market”, distinguishing the social position of secure employees on regular pay from others;
- “peripheral” workers, whose role in the economy is more marginal, and who are liable to displacement during economic cycles; and
- “precariousness”, the role of marginal workers who move between casual and part-time work and joblessness.
Economic marginality has implications for social inclusion. Unstable economic conditions lead to social instability – marginal employment is associated with family breakdown – while also reducing the level of social protection available.
Link: Unemployment; Employment services
The role of the labour movement
Many welfare systems have their origins in collective and mutualist actions by trades unions, professional or occupational groups, rather than the state. Trades unions developed, for example, unemployment benefits in Denmark, social housing in Norway, or the health service in Israel. In France, social protection for unemployment is administered by a “convention” of employers and trades unions.
It is also true that welfare developed historically at a time of social conflict, and labour organisations have had an important role in the development of policy, including Bismarck’s establishment of social insurance and the foundations of the British social services. Marxists have traditionally seen the welfare state as the outcome of struggles by the labour movement. This is only true in part: several measures – like insurance-based pensions in the UK – have developed despite the resistance of organised labour, and others, like the extension of rights to the poorest, have been marked by conflicts between groups.
Nations and welfare
Nations are seen at times as groups linked by a shared history or culture; as a collective group of people in a specific geographical location, with a common identity; or as political communities. Historically, social welfare became important shortly after the rise of “nation states”, and in some views the ideas are closely associated. David Miller, for example, argues that the nation is the principal community on which welfare provision depends. 
National identity is as often used, however, to exclude people from welfare as to promote inclusion, and the influence of nationalism on welfare has tended to be negative. Titmuss criticised the idea of the “welfare state” because it seemed to limit the scope of welfare to a particular locality.  Universalists have promoted an inclusive concept of welfare; in principle, this concept is inclusive, but in practice it tends to be confined to citizens, or members of the political community.
Immigration and nationality
Immigrants, by definition, come from outside a community; wherever social protection depends on contribution to collective welfare, immigrants are liable to be excluded. Residual income support may be available, but it is unusual for non-contributory benefits, such as benefits for disabled people, to be available directly to immigrants; many countries have some kind of minimum residential qualification.
Much immigration consists of movements of people from poorer countries to richer ones: immigrants tend to come with relatively limited resources. Few countries offer immigrants a full range of social protection or benefits, and in the short term this is likely to lead to disadvantage. At the same time, migrants tend to be younger and more mobile than host populations. In the longer term, much depends on the economic niche occupied by immigrant groups, and their relative status and resources. Immigrant careers are highly differentiated.
Issues of immigration overlap with racism. However, there are racial minorities who are not immigrants and widely persecuted (like the Roma in central and Eastern Europe), and some immigrant groups are not disadvantaged.
Further material: ‘Race’ and social policy; The history of migration to the UK
Social policies can be seen as collective responses to social problems. A problem is social when it is socially recognised: important issues like grief and emotional distress are not necessarily ‘social’, and there may be no social policies to deal with them. Conversely, other, seemingly minor, concerns and complaints can be elevated to the status of social problems, and acted on – dealing with ‘NIMBY’ protests (‘not in my back yard’) bedevils community care provision.
Problems are ‘socially constructed’. People’s values, beliefs and opinions are conditioned by the society they live in, and people come to share many basic perceptions. This can shape the way people think about issues, and close off some options: so, child abuse is usually constructed as the result of parental abnormality, and not as the obvious outcome of rules which allow children to be beaten physically.
Further material: Social need
Deviance refers to a breach of social rules, or ‘norms’. Normal behaviour is behaviour within these rules. There are many possible explanations for deviance. The main schools of thought include
- genetic views. This is based on the idea that some social traits are inborn. The gene pool changes very little over time; this would imply a relatively static proportion of problems, and continuity between generations. Neither is consistent with the evidence.
- sub-cultural views. There is an argument that people become deviant because they are part of deviant sub-cultures. They have different values, beliefs and patterns of behaviour, formed in adapting to different social circumstances.
- functional explanations. Societies have to define what is acceptable and what is not. Lévi-Strauss argues for example that the ban on incest is functionally necessary, and that is why it is so common. 
- interactionist views. Some sociologists have argued that deviance is the result of social definitions. Lemert distinguishes primary deviance (the deviant act) from secondary deviance (the identification of the person as deviant).  ‘Labelling theory’ goes further, attributing deviance to the creation of rules by society.
- structural views. This attributes deviance to the social structure, including family, community and economy. For example, increasing crime has been linked with unemployment (though falls in unemployment have not been matched by falls in crime rates).
The challenges in policy formulation, policy analysis and implementation in developing countries.
The challenges in policy formulation, policy analysis and implementation in developing countries
- Introduction In every society, there must exist some problems. These problems could be in the areas of politics, commerce, education, agriculture, communication, housing, transportation, health etc. In order to solve these problems as they might exist at given points in time, government is always seen formulating policies in response to them and in relation to the objectives of growth, national development and wellbeing of the citizens. This is necessary because if attempts are not made to address these problems as they arise, they may degenerate into uncontrollable stages with the society‟s social-economic growth and development endangered.(Okoli & Onah, 2002). Fundamentally, a public policy is a government action or proposed action directed at achieving certain desired goals or objectives (Ikelegbe, 2006). In the light of a given societal problem, public policy guides and determines present and future public decisions as well as private individual or private business institutional actions, decisions or behavior. In essence, a public policy determines the activities of government and given private institutions in relation to providing services designed to solve a given problem. Ugwuanyi et al.,(2013). Policymaking involves a combination of processes. Although not always clear-cut or easily distinguishable, political scientists have identified these processes for purposes of analysis. They include the following: Identifying policy problems: Publicized demands for government action can lead to identification of policy problems. Formulating policy proposals: Policy proposals can be formulated through political channels by policy-planning organizations, interest groups, government bureaucracies, state legislatures, and the president and Congress/parliament. Legitimizing public policy: Policy is legitimized as a result of the public statements or actions of government officials, both elected and appointed in all branches and at all levels. This includes executive orders, budgets, laws and appropriations, rules and regulations, and decisions and interpretations that have the effect of setting policy directions.
- Implementing public policy: Policy is implemented through the activities of public bureaucracies and the expenditure of public funds. Evaluating public policy: Policies are formally and informally evaluated by government agencies, by outside consultants, by interest groups, by the mass media, and by the public. Policy processes ideally involve different stages: agenda setting; formulation; implementation; and evaluation. Although this stages or phases approach to policymaking has been criticized for being too simplistic, insufficiently explicating that some phases may occur together, and not saying much about why policy turns out as it does, it does provide a way to discuss many of the ways policy is constructed, carried out, evaluated, and made again. All these activities include both attempts at rational problem solving and political conflict. Definition of a Policy Policy is defined in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as a definite course or method of action selected from among alternatives to guide and determine present and future decisions. A policy is defined in the New Oxford Dictionary of English as: “a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by a government, party, business or individual”. Other scholars define a policy as making decisions that reflect values and allocating resources based on those values. Thus, policy represents a particular political, ethical, or programmatic viewpoint. Governmental policy reflects theoretical or experiential assumptions about what is required to resolve a particular issue or problem. It is the process by which governments translate their political vision into programmes and actions to deliver ‘outcomes’ – desired change in the real world. Policy can take a range of different forms, including non-intervention; regulation, for instance by licensing; or the encouragement of voluntary change, including by grant aid; as well as direct public service provision.
- Definition of Public Policy Fundamentally, a public policy is a government action or proposed action directed at achieving certain desired goals or objectives (Ikelegbe, 2006). In the light of a given societal problem, public policy guides and determines present and future public decisions as well as private individual or private business institutional actions, decisions or behavior. In essence, a public policy determines the activities of government and given private institutions in relation to providing services designed to solve a given problem. Many scholars have defined Public policy as whatever governments choose to do or not to do. Public policy deciding at any time or place what objectives and substantive measures should be chosen in order to deal with a particular problem. Public policy is the strategic use of resources to alleviate national problems or governmental concerns. Public policy is the public response to the interest in improving the human conditions. In these definitions there is divergence between what governments decide to do and what they actually do. Public policy is a guide which government has designed for direction and practice in certain problem areas Nduka.E et al., (2010). POLICY FORMULATION AND CHALLENGES Policy-making is the process by which governments translate their political vision into programmes and actions to deliver „outcomes‟ – desired change in the real world. Two parts to policy formulation: Effective formulation (analytical phase) means that the policy proposed is regarded as a valid, efficient, and implementable solution to the issue at hand. Acceptable formulation (political phase) means that the proposed course of action is likely to be authorized by the legitimate decision makers, usually through majority‐building in a bargaining process. That is, it must be politically feasible.
- The analytical and political aspects of policy formulation Involve: · First, effective policy alternatives, presumably based on sound analysis, must be conceived and clearly articulated. · Second, a political choice among these alternatives must be made: The policy must be authorized through a political process, such as legislation or regulation. · Both phases: analysis and authorization – make up policy formulation · Analysis + Authorization = Formulation · On Analysis – Professional policy analysts, use their skills and analytical tools to study an issue and to devise policy alternatives to address the issue. They consider aspects such as means, behaviour, cost, implementation strategy, and consequences · Elected or appointed officials, however, have the final choice among the alternatives presented. This brings judgment, wisdom, and accountability to policy formulation. They consider goals, trade‐offs, value priorities, and weighing the overall effects of the policy which makes them accountable to the people, under our representative form of government. Steps in Policy Formulation and Implementation: Deciding whether a new policy or reform is required, promote the new policy or reform an existing one, make the process more participatory by engaging stakeholders, adopt the new policy, (often merged with the actual implementation stage). Finally, the policy is implemented, after implementation, policies must be monitored and evaluated and a strategy and an action plan are also required for the policy implementation process. Policy Circle The Althaus, Bridgman & Davis model covers the following: issue identification, policy analysis, policy instrument development, consultation (which permeates the entire process), coordination, decision, implementation and evaluation.
- Features of Policy Making Nine Features of Modern Policy Making include: forward Looking, outward looking, innovative, flexible and creative, evidence based, inclusive, joined up, reviewed (should be regularly), evaluation and learns lessons and disseminates them (what worked & best practice). Policy analysis At this point, it may be said, more generally, that policy analysis is carried out before policy formulation, since the analysis of the consequences of the various possible policies has to be made in order to supply the necessary information to the decision-maker, so that he may select a particular policy and, after policy formulation, when that policy is being translated into concrete actions, i.e. in terms of plans, programmes and projects for implementation. In other words, it shows the role of policy analysis in relation to policy formulation and policy implementation. Policy analysis means making criticisms. Making criticisms means exposing the implicit values that guide our research and recognizing that research which precludes implications for alternative policy choices is not worth doing. According to Nduka .E et al., (2010), Policy analysis is defined as simply put is the study of the causes, processes, formulation, implementation and consequences of public policy. It involves the description and explanation of particular policy choices and contents; determination of strategies for optimal policy.-making, performance, implementation and impact of public policies. It uses collected data to systematically explain, describe and prescribe policies with the aid of certain social science methods, theories and approaches. However, almost all participants in policy formulation have stakes in the configuration that policy takes. Policy analysis as a technique puts data to use in, or deciding about, estimating and measuring the consequences of public policy. Its purpose is twofold. It provides maximum information with minimal cost about: The likely consequences of proposed policies and the actual consequences of the policies already adopted.
- Establishing the context: What is the underlying problem that must be dealt with? What specific objectives are to be pursued in confronting this problem? Laying out the alternatives: What are the alternative courses of action? What are the possibilities for gathering further information? Predicting the consequences: What are the consequences of each alternative action? What techniques are relevant for predicting these consequences? If outcomes are uncertain, what is the estimated likelihood of each? Valuing the outcomes: By what criteria should we measure success in pursuing each objective? Recognizing that inevitably some alternatives will be superior with respect to certain objectives and inferior with respect to others, how should different combinations of valued objectives be compared with one another? Making a choice: Drawing all aspects of the analysis together, what is the preferred course of action?” Although Strokey & Leckhauser insisted that the five criteria areas must be considered, they did not expect an analyst always to proceed from one stage of the analysis to the next, but to revise the framework to suit his own operational style. In establishing the context, it is essential to focus attention on policy areas where there is widely- shared consensus and treat delicate issues cautiously. The problem areas in analysis may be examined in terms of equity/ equality, efficiency and effectiveness in qualitative or quantitative terms or according to the impact on the economy and so on. Once the analyst knows what the problem is about, he will conceptualize it in order to eliminate courses of action that will be costly, redundant and unfeasible, thus finding a way to seek the preferable choice and propose a course of action. This proposed course of action should take into account the consequences as well as the unexpected effects. The issue of making choices that favour the present at the
- expense of the future is raised and an explanation of how to think about choices and how they can be compared is presented. CHALLENGES ENCOUNTERED IN POLICY ANALYSIS The world for which policies have to be developed is becoming increasingly complex, uncertain and unpredictable. Citizens are better informed, have rising expectations and are making growing demands for services tailored to their individual needs. Key policy issues, such as social need, low educational achievement and poor health, are connected and cannot be tackled effectively by departments or agencies acting individually. In his analysis of the major constraints to African development, Balogun (1992) has pinned institutional rigidity as another characteristic of policy management dispensation on the continent. He lashes at African cultural values that have largely contributed to this rigidity. He informs us that due to internal conflict, the African culture impedes any cooperative action in political associations and in modern administrative agencies. So whose rigidity matters in any given policy? And what mechanisms are in place to enforce cooperation in policy management in developmental states? To enhance policy management capacity in Africa, Basheka et al (2012) suggests the need to review of what he termed the critical skills in the policy process among policy makers and implementers. Such skills entail leadership and motivation, entrepreneurial skills and innovation, planning and forecasting, programming, sequencing, precision-management/coordination, resource mobilization and optimization, information storage, retrieval/scanning, utilization, human resource management, conflict resolution, and crisis control. At a close range of analysis, these skills are crucial for addressing a number of institutional and process constraints for effective policy management. Most policies in in developing countries like Uganda are managed through a set of institutions; defined as a set of informal and formal rules that structure interactions between organizations and between individuals. The literature also suggests that a reality gap between ideas of the best practice and the actual legal, administrative, political and economic processes that exist in low- income and middle-income countries means that a „one size fits all‟ approach is likely to produce
- perverse outcomes or what is called „fatal remedies‟ (Hood, 1998: 208). Politics has been identified as a key issue to understand policy management. It has been observed by Goran Hyden (2006) that in neo-patrimonial systems the president and other politicians at the top play a significant role in policy implementation. He postulates that because African governments do not control power, politics emerges as supreme and undermines other rational bases for policy determination; subsequently, a policy deficit is caused. The transition from the movement type of politics to competitive politics has further compounded this problem because the ruling regime will ensure that there is total monopoly over state resources (Lindberg, 2003: 123) and this leads those in power to become directly involved in policy management even where the work would have been delegated to street level bureaucrats. Another political dimension worth mentioning has been the issue of donors. In their policy implementation model, Meter & Horn (1975) explain that several environmental factors can influence the implementation process. They include the economic, social, and political conditions prevailing at the time, as well as the nature of public opinion that exists in the implementation environment. Yet these factors also have a cultural aspect. For instance, the influence of donors often leads to failure. The World Bank for example has immense influence due to its resource capacity and politics of residency, which makes it a willing and able lender. Hence, it can impose its preferences on reforms (Harrison 2001:668-670; Polidano 2001) and sometimes the imposed reforms may be inappropriate. Thus, high-level dependence on external funding, which comes with conditionalities, may require new policies that may contradict homegrown policy preferences. It remains to be seen if such external agencies have a sufficiently clear vision of successful reforms. However, we can well ask, why do countries accept donor influence (e.g., agree to implement a reform which the donor recommends), yet at the same time suspect that a reform programme will fail? The answer to this has to do with resources: while these countries need resources, civil servants know they can individually profiteer from them. For example, donor money and jobs created in connection with a reform implementation process can be awarded based on ethnicity and nepotism. Mwenda & Tangri (2005), confirm this hypothesis by arguing that policies are at times accepted primarily for political survival, and worse still, they have perpetuated neo-patrimonial networks that have a devastating effect on the way policies are managed in Uganda and other developing countries.
- Policy making does not take place in distinct stages The „stages‟ of policy making do not just often overlap, they are often inseparable. In the real world, policy problems and policy solutions frequently emerge together, rather than one after another. In other words, plans may be present at the same time, or before, a need to act has been identified. This can lead to poorly conceived policies if ministers present a fait accompli solution that is flawed, or whose relationship to a policy problem is unclear – but will not hear it challenged. The current policy process does not do enough to address these difficulties. Policy makers agreed the solution was „directed exploration‟, where ministers are clear about their goals, and then are prepared to engage in an honest, iterative discussion about how to achieve them. However, such discussions are impeded by a lack of time, appropriate institutional arrangements, and problems in ministerial-civil service relationships. We need better ways of ensuring that the policy problem has been fully considered, and the option tested properly. Hallsworth. M et al., (2011). Unclear or Ambitious Policy Goals It has been observed that most policies and plans are inefficient in learning from past experiences. As a result they often devise ambitious targets which ultimately fall short of their desired outcomes (Ahsan, 2003; The World Bank, 1999). One of the main reasons for such a situation is the absence of reliable data for educational planning in Pakistan. It is very often the case that even official documents carry discrepancies. Ahsan (2003) has shown that great variation exists among many official and semi-official sources, including such basic educational statistics as the percentage of literacy. Tsang (1988) strongly suggested that there is a dire need in developing countries to strengthen the informational base to improve policy frameworks. Political Commitment The problem related to politics and politicians sits at the root of the problems of implementation in Pakistan. Literature on implementation highlights the importance of political commitment by leadership as critical to policy success (Sabatier & Mazmanian, 1983, pp. 158-59). Sri Lankan
- reform experience suggests that successful implementation crucially depends on the consistent support of top political and bureaucratic leadership (Cummings, Gunawardena, & Williams, 1992, pp. 15-16). Citing the example of civil service reform in Swaziland, McCourt (2003) noticed that the lack of „political commitment‟ of government was the principal reason for failure of reform programmes. In the case of Pakistan there have been many instances where governments have failed to provide the political support needed for implementing and sustaining policy initiatives. Each new government has discontinued most programmes of its predecessors soon after assuming power, for example, a literacy project titled Nai Roshni (new light) was launched in 1987 and was discontinued in 1989 with the change of government (Ahsan, 2003, p. 264). Other mass literacy programmes have also failed due to low political commitment both at federal and local levels (Akhtar, 2004, p. 176). Governance Structure The issues of ineffective governance and corruption, particularly among politicians and civil servants, have also been described as a major obstacle to proper policy implementation in Pakistan (World Bank. Country Department I South Asia Region, 1997, p. 12). One of the major reasons for the ineffectiveness of governance is lack of coordination and trust among political representatives and government officials, and also the lack of cooperation among different government departments (Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development & Department for International Development, 2003, p. 5; The World Bank, 1999). In the case of SAP, the lack of trust among finance and education departments has caused a shortage of finances for the project, which has seriously affected the envisaged outcomes (World Bank. Human Development Sector Unit, 2003, p. 16). This observation indicates towards the issues that are related to the joint action of multiple actors, and its inherent problems. The Sri Lankan experience suggests that a reform that involves fewer government agencies would experience more cooperation, and stand a better chance of successful implementation (Cummings et al., 1992, p. 16). The lack of cooperation among different organs of government and their mutual disrespect create several „clearance points‟ that hamper the overall organization and implementation of policy (Pressman & Wildavsky, 1973; Sabatier & Mazmanian, 1983). Eventually due to distrust among different agencies and due to the tendency of civil services to resist change, the policy is implemented only symbolically (Firestone & Corbett, 1988, p. 513).
- Institutional challenges In his analysis of the major constraints to African development, Balogun (1992) has pinned institutional rigidity as another characteristic of policy management dispensation on the continent. He lashes at African cultural values that have largely contributed to this rigidity. He informs us that due to internal conflict, the African culture impedes any cooperative action in political associations and in modern administrative agencies. So whose rigidity matters in any given policy? And what mechanisms are in place to enforce cooperation in policy management in developmental states? To enhance policy management capacity in Africa, the author suggests the need to review of what he termed the critical skills in the policy process among policy makers and implementers. Such skills entail leadership and motivation, entrepreneurial skills and innovation, planning and forecasting, programming, sequencing, precision management/coordination, resource mobilization and optimization, information storage, retrieval/scanning, utilization, human resource management, conflict resolution, and crisis control. At a close range of analysis, these skills are crucial for addressing a number of institutional and process constraints for effective policy management. Most policies in for example in Uganda are managed through a set of institutions; defined as a set of informal and formal rules that structure interactions between organizations and between individuals. The literature also suggests that a reality gap between ideas of the best practice and the actual legal, administrative, political and economic processes that exist in low-income and middle-income countries means that a „one size fits all‟ approach is likely to produce perverse outcomes or what is called „fatal remedies‟ (Hood, 1998: 208). Politics has been identified as a key issue to understand policy management. It has been observed by Hyden (2006) that in neo- patrimonial systems the president and other politicians at the top play a significant role in policy implementation. He postulates that because African governments do not control power, politics emerges as supreme and undermines other rational bases for policy determination; subsequently, a policy deficit is caused. The transition from the movement type of politics to competitive politics has further compounded this problem because the ruling regime will ensure that there is total monopoly over state resources (Lindberg, 2003: 123) and this leads those in power to
- become directly involved in policy management even where the work would have been delegated to street level bureaucrats. Institutional constraint Policy analysts also face the problem of institutional acceptance on policy outcomes. Institutional characteristics limit what can or will be done. Specifically, an agency accustomed to doing things in a particular way cannot innovate very often. Rather, it looks for an effort to integrate new demands into existing patterns of doing business. Donors Dependence. In their policy implementation model, Meter and Horn (1975) explain that several environmental factors can influence the implementation process. They include the economic, social, and political conditions prevailing at the time, as well as the nature of public opinion that exists in the implementation environment. Yet these factors also have a cultural aspect. For instance, the influence of donors often leads to failure. The World Bank for example has immense influence due to its resource capacity and politics of residency, which makes it a willing and able lender. Hence, it can impose its preferences on reforms (Harrison 2001:668-670; Polidano 2001) and sometimes the imposed reforms may be inappropriate. Thus, high-level dependence on external funding, which comes with conditionalities, may require new policies that may contradict homegrown policy preferences. It remains to be seen if such external agencies have a sufficiently clear vision of successful reforms. However, we can well ask, why do countries accept donor influence (e.g., agree to implement a reform which the donor recommends), yet at the same time suspect that a reform programme will fail? The answer to this has to do with resources: while these countries need resources, civil servants know they can individually profiteer from them. For example, donor money and jobs created in connection with a reform implementation process can be awarded based on ethnicity and nepotism. Mwenda & Tangri (2005), confirm this hypothesis by arguing that policies are at times accepted primarily for political survival, and worse still, they have perpetuated neo-patrimonial networks that have a devastating effect on the way policies are managed in Uganda, Kenya and other developing countries.
- Constraints of politics The activities of political leaders constrain policy analysis. Policy ideas are dropped because elected politicians and other appointees oppose them. The reaction of Senators, House of Representatives, the President and Presidential Advisers are anticipated as proposals are debated. Many ideas are discarded because specialists cannot conceive of any plausible circumstances which they could be approved by elected politicians and their appointees. Policy analysis suffers these political constraints when policy issues are being analyzed. Budgetary constraint Budgetary constraints also affect policy analysis. Expectations may always outpace the capabilities of government. Before any proposals is accepted and approved, decision-makers need to be convinced that it has the resource to do them. As observed by Kingdom (1984:145-6), “decision-maker need to be convinced that the budgetary cost of the programme is acceptable; that there is a reasonable chance that politicians will approve; that the public in its various facets both mass and activists will acquiesce”. There must, therefore, be sufficient fund to meet policy expectations, failure which policy analysis suffers. Values Though, objectivity is relative as many analysts believe that policy analysis is not value-free since value judgment also influences how they record or present information. Nonetheless, policy analysts are more objective than programme administrators as analysts often recommend alternatives, review consequences before arriving at policy conclusion, whereas the bureaucrats are national maximizers of self-interests (Down, 1967, Niskanen, 1971). In relative terms, policy analysts are more objective where there is no conflict of interests. Policy analysis cannot provide solutions to problems when there is no general consensus on what the problems are. It is incapable of resolving societal value conflicts. At best, it can offer advice on how to accomplish a certain set of end values. It cannot determine what those end values should be. Furthermore, social science research cannot be value-free. Besides, it is difficult for the government to cure all or even most of the maladies of the society. They are constrained by certain values in the society, such as: religious beliefs, diversity in culture and languages. These cannot easily be managed by the government.
- Anticipation of acquiescence by society Anticipation of acquiescence within a community is another constraint to policy analysis. Specialists in policy community know that ultimately their proposals must be acceptable to the public reaction as they design their proposals. The public possible negative reaction to policy proposals acts as a constraint to policy analysis. Multiple causes of a problem There are also certain societal problems which may have multiple causes and a specific policy may not be able to eradicate the problem. There are policies that solve the problems of one group in society which create problems for other groups. In a plural society one person‟s solution may be another person‟s problem. This is a constraint to many policy proposals and such policy analysis proposal to solve such societal problem becomes an uphill task. Costly solutions Policy analysis also faces the constraint of solutions to some problem being more costly. For instance, certain levels of public disorder including riots, civil disturbances and occasional violence cannot be eradicated without the adoption of very regressive policies which would prove too costly to democratic values, freedom of speech and press; rights of assembly; freedom to form opposition parties. Thus, a certain level of disorder may be the price to pay for democracy. All these act as constraints to policy analysis. Uncertainty As future is always uncertain, it is questionable whether policy analysis can find solutions to the problems regarding the future of society. Poverty, unemployment, inequality, and environmental pollution are some of the major problems in the society. Of course, this is an excuse for failing to strive for a better society. It must be realized that solutions to these problems may be difficult to find. There are several reasons for tempering our enthusiasm for policy analysis. Lack of communication It has been observed that policy analyses are gathering dust because they are either too long or too hard to understand. A policy analysis is of no use if it cannot be communicated to others. Too often, the policy analysis deals with subjective topics and must rely upon the interpretation of results. Professional researchers often interpret the results of their analyses differently.
- Obviously, quite different policy recommendations can come out from these alternative interpretations of the results of research. Policies need to be designed, not just conceived Current processes greatly underestimate the value of policy design. A greater emphasis on policy design helps to ensure that the planned actions represent a realistic and viable means of achieving the policy goals. In business, there is a quality control phase where new products are prototyped and stress-tested, before being trailed and finally going to market. While such testing does happen for some public sector policies, it should be much more extensive and rigorous: the policy process still does not provide enough support to make it happen systematically. Nevertheless, the complexity of modern governance means it is unlikely that policies can be designed perfectly, so that nothing will go wrong or need to be revised. Therefore, the people implementing a policy need the capacity and opportunity to adapt it to local or changing circumstances. Policy making is often determined by events Policy making does not take place in a vacuum, where the government is in total control of its agenda. The result can be sharp discontinuities and apparently illogical decisions, as the government‟s coherent position can get overwhelmed by events. But not all events are the result of the external world affecting policy makers; some are „self-generated‟. Many of our interviewees made it clear that the desire to capture the news agenda, generate headlines, or be seen to be acting, could lead to over-hasty announcements. The effects of policies are often indirect, diffuse, and take time to appear Current guidance presents policies as discrete interventions to tackle specific problems, whose effects can then be reliably measured and evaluated. But there is plenty of evidence that the effects of these interventions may be complex, wide-ranging and unintended. Given the complexity of the problems with which government deals, it may be unlikely that a policy will produce effects that are both measurable and attributable. Indeed, it may actually be unhelpful to
- think of policies as discrete interventions that can achieve a particular goal on their own. Policy may be the cumulative impact of many different initiatives in a particular area, or it may be about managing a wider system. Unless the policy process is set up to capture those impacts and be sensitive to other, interlinked policies, the real impact of a policy cannot be properly understood. The more one delves into the reality of policy making, the more that policy cycles and their like resemble a comforting narrative that imposes specious order on a complex reality. Maintaining this narrative often means that, in practice, policy makers often have to fall back on their native wits. This is why many interviewees voiced concerns about the ad hoc nature of policy making: there is not so much a lack of recommended processes, just a lack of realistic ones. POLICY FORMULATION AND CHALLENGES ENCOUNTERED There are two key stages to the policy formulation process: determining the policy options and then selecting the preferred option (see Young & Quinn, 2002: 13-14). For both stages, policymakers should ideally ensure that their understanding of the specific situation and the different options is as detailed and comprehensive as possible; only then can they make informed decisions about which policy to go ahead and implement. This includes the instrumental links between an activity and an outcome as well as the expected cost and impact of an intervention. The quantity and credibility of the evidence is important. At this stage, the public administration concerned examines the various policy options it considers to be possible solutions. It should be noted that coalitions of actors strive, through the use of advocacy strategies, to gain priority for one specific interpretation of both the problem and its solution. It is at this stage that power relationships crystallize, determining the direction a policy will take. This stage is the most crucial one after policy formulation is its implementation. It is, perhaps, for its importance that some scholars refer to the policy implementation stage as the hub of policy process. Fundamentally, policy implementation is the process of translating a policy into actions and presumptions into results through various projects and programmes (Okoli and Onah, 2003; Ikelegbe, 2006). Kraft & Furlong (2007) and Ajaegbu & Eze (2010) state that policy
- implementation actually refers to the process and activities involved in the application, effectuation and administration of a policy. A variety of activities are involved in policy implementation that may include issuing and enforcing directives, disbursing funds, signing contracts, collecting data and analyzing problems, hiring and assigning personnel, setting committees and commissions, assigning duties and responsibilities and also making interim decisions etc. (Nweke, 2006). POLICY IMPLEMENTATION It is difficult to create a conceptual distinction between policy formulation and policy implementation (Dinica, 2004). This is because policy formulation basically takes place throughout the entire policy process. What is needed is a way of combining the analytical benefits offered by the „stages‟ model with the recognition of the interaction between the stages. (Hill & Hupe, 2003). Use the term „policy‐making‟ for the entire process, „policy formation‟ for the initial part of policy‐making, Policy implementation‟ for the latter part of the policy‐making process. Fundamentally and according to Hornby (2010), the word effective refers to producing the results that is wanted or intended or producing a successful result. In the context of this work, effective policy implementation, therefore, entails implementing a policy in such a way as to produce, attain or realize the goals and objectives of the policy. In essence, if a policy is effectively implemented, the designed and planned development goals and objectives are realized. The basic end or focus of the bureaucratic activities should then be on how best to effectively implement policies. According to Sajid Ali (2006), states that policy implementation is generally held to be the step that follows policy formulation and is viewed as „the process of carrying out a basic policy decision‟ (Sabatier & Mazmanian, 1983). Bhola (2004) suggests that policy implementation is a process „to actualize, apply and utilize it [policy] in the world of practice‟.
- At this stage, the policy‟s implementation parameters are established, which can directly affect the eventual outcome of the policy. Several factors combine to determine the actual effects of a policy and how well it achieves its objectives. Factors noted by Sabatier and Mazmanian include: the type and complexity of the problem addressed, the magnitude of the expected change and the groups targeted by the policy, the human and financial resources devoted to implementation, and the administrative structures and regulations that will be put in place to support implementation of the policy (Sabatier & Mazmanian, 1995). Note that high demands are placed on the technical-administrative apparatus at this stage, and on groups associated with this policy sector. The term policy network is often used to refer to the actors within the government, as well as the stakeholders associated with a policy sector, who are in sense experts in the area. This policy network will have a major influence on how the policy is implemented. Policy implementation includes all the activities that result from the official adoption of a policy. Policy implementation is what happens after a law is passed. We should never assume that the passage of a law is the end of the policymaking process. Sometimes laws are passed and nothing happens. Sometimes laws are passed and executive agencies, presuming to act under these laws, do a great deal more than Congress ever intended. Political scientist Robert Lineberry writes: “The implementation process is not the end of policy-making, but a continuation of policy- making by other means. When policy is pronounced, the implementation process begins. What happens in it may, over the long run, have more impact on the ultimate distribution of policy than the intentions of the policy‟s framers”. Traditionally, public policy implementation was the subject matter of public administration. The separation of “politics” from “administration” was once thought to be the cornerstone of a scientific approach to administration. But today it is clear that politics and administration cannot be separated. Opponents of policies do not end their opposition after a law is passed. They continue their opposition in the implementation phase of the policy process by opposing attempts to organize, fund, staff, regulate, direct, and coordinate the program. If opponents are
- unsuccessful in delaying or halting programs in implementation, they may seek to delay or halt them in endless court battles (school desegregation and abortion policy are certainly cases in point). In short, conflict is a continuing activity in policy implementation. CHALLENGES ENCOUNTERED DURING POLICY IMPLEMENTATION The pattern and nature of policy implementation is the major explanation for the failure or success of any given policy. In this vein, Nwankwo & Apeh (2008) observe that the implementation of a policy is the most vital phase in the policy process as it is at this stage that the success or failure of a policy is determined. Ikelegbe (2006) and Nweke (2006), in this respect too, note that many policy failures result from ineffective implementation. The public bureaucracy plays through the effective implementation of government policies, projects and programmes aimed at achieving development goals and objectives. Most often in many developing countries, however, policies are well and brilliantly formulated but ineffectively implemented by the bureaucracy as cited in Nigeria (Obodoechi, 2009; Ikelegbe, 2006). This leads to the failure of public policies to achieve their target goals and objectives and to ultimately alleviate the problems for which they were designed. Indeed, there are usually wide gaps between formulated policy goals and the achievement of those goals as a result of ineffective implementation in almost all facets of public administration (Ozor, 2004; Mankinde, 2005). The ineffective and corrupt political leadership contribute to poor policy implementation in developing countries. The leadership corruption, and ineptitude, for instance, affects the content and quality of policy at formulation stage. For instance, policies are, more often than not, made for purposes of the selfish and egoistic interest of the political leaders and sometimes only to attract public acclaim and attention with less regard to their appropriateness in addressing given problems or the possibility of their effective practical implementation by the public bureaucracy. It is perhaps for this, that Okoli & Onah (2002) state that implementation of policies in Nigeria and other developing countries take the form of “learning process” or “trial and error”. In this context, policies or programmes are haphazardly implemented and even sometimes abandoned or
- dismantled midway because the basis for formulating the policy was not, in the first instance, predicated on existing data, realities or need. Another factor that constitutes obstacles for the bureaucracy in effectively implementing policies is the over ambitions nature of some public policies. Some policies actually tend to be over ambitions, sweeping and overly fundamental in nature (Mankinde, 2005). In most cases, the formulation of such over ambitions policies is not even borne out of genuine or sincere effort to bring about rapid and radical development but just to boast the ego of the political leaders. An example of such policies is policies having as their basic objectives the provision of free education or free health services to all the citizens or the total eradication of poverty amongst the citizens. For such policies, there are usually inadequate resources (men and materials) for the public bureaucracy to effectively implement them. Another critical factor inhibiting effective implementation of policies is that some agencies or institutions saddled with the responsibility of implementing given policies do not possess the requisite manpower and financial resources to effectively implement them. On the issue of inadequate resources, for instance, Governments in developing countries, sometimes, do not budget adequately to enable the public bureaucracy properly implement formulated policies (Ikelegbe, 2006; Dick, 2003). Indeed, to effectively implement policies, the implementing agency needs resources in adequate and timely manner and such not being the case in Nigeria explains, in part, the failure of certain public policies to achieve desirable ends, (Nweke, 2006; Ikelegbe, 1996). Sometimes, though, government gives out sufficient fund but the corrupt activities within the public bureaucratic organizations do not allow for its judicious use to effectively execute policy programs. In any case, insufficient financial resources have resulted to situations where laws could not be enforced, services were not provided and reasonable regulation not developed and applied. On the issue of inadequate human resources, the public bureaucracy do not, indeed, have adequate staff in terms of overall numbers and more importantly in terms of specific areas of professional, technical or managerial competence and expertise (Aluko & Adesopo; 2002). This is counterproductive as the capabilities of government bureaucracy in terms of expertise and skill
- determine, to a large extent, policy implementation success or failure (Ikelegbe, 1996). Where abilities exist, policies could be confidently formulated with reasonable assurance of their effective implementation. Indeed, as Nnamdi (2001) notes, development policies has, in contemporary times, assumed complex and sophisticated dimension that require highly skilled and experienced bureaucrats for their effective implementation. Again, the challenge of keeping away personal interest, prejudice and the influence of primordial values in the conduct of official business by bureaucrats is equally very critical in developing countries. Usually, if the bureaucrats are not favourably disposed towards a policy, they may not approach its implementation with the enthusiasm and zeal that it effectively implementation may require. Makinde (2005), in this respect, contends that the zeal with which bureaucrats implement policy depends on how they see the policy as effecting their personal, ethnic and organizational interest and aspirations. Positive effects will induce enthusiastic implementation while the contrary may mean that implementation may be resisted, thwarted and even sabotaged (Ikelegbe, 2006). The ultimate result of this is ineffective implementation of policies that makes the realization of their goals and objectives difficult. Another constraining factor to effective policy implementation in developing countries is undue pervasive political influence on the public bureaucracy (Amucheazi 1980; Aneze) (in Timi and Tola, 1986). Usually, the political leaders formulate policies and as well control and direct the implementation activities of the policy. This situation is not proper as such control and directive are mostly motivated by selfish personal or political interests. Indeed, the bureaucracy cannot effectively implement policies and meaningfully contribute to national development if it is fettered, controlled and directed by political authorities. This is more so as in extreme cases of such political control, the bureaucrats are not even allowed to take decisions or actions on basic routine administrative matters without consultation and the consent of relevant political authorities. In this process, much time and energy is wasted and prompt actions required for effective implementation of policies hampered. Given this, therefore, one can posit that the extent to which politics influence the bureaucratic activities will continue to determine and shape the extent to which policies can be properly and effectively implemented by the public bureaucracy in many developing countries. Very worrisome is the fact that the political influence
- or hold on the public bureaucracy is becoming tighter as promotion to the headship positions in some public bureaucratic organization is based on political patronage or loyalty and not on the basis of relevant or cognate experience and seniority. Bureaucrats promoted under such circumstance will be more morally bound to subject their official decisions and actions, substantially, to the wishes, preferences, control and endorsement of their political masters. Finally, abrogation of a policy effects their implementation by the public bureaucracy in Developing countries. It is observable that each new political in many developing countries in Africa is usually and primarily concerned with making its own impression on public programmes and projects. For this, certain policies or programmes which are already being effectively implemented are shelved by the succeeding administration (Nnamdi, 2001). Presidents, Ministers, Governors, Local Government Chairmen and heads of institutions (both bureaucratic and political heads) exhibit the tendency to link their administration with distinct social and economic policies or programmes. Consequently, the policies of preceding administrations are rarely pursued by succeeding ones and such personalistic styles of administration help to explain why so little attention is paid to the issue of maintenance of projects or programmes created or initiated by preceding regimes. Indeed, succeeding regimes conceive the maintenance of existing programmes as not politically expedient as it does not bring direct personal glory or credit. CONCLUSION Public policy analysis faces various problems, such as: politics, budget, institution, values and expectation of members of the society. In spite of the constraints, it seems safe to say that social scientists can at least attempt to measure the impact of present and past public policies and make this knowledge available to policy-makers. Reason, knowledge and scientific analysis are always better than the absence of any knowledge. Lineberry (1977:135) notes that “policy analysis rests on the assumption that information is better than no information, and that right questions are better than no questions asked, even when the answers may not be definitive”. Policy analysis may not provide solutions to society‟s ills, but it is still an appropriate tool in approaching policy questions. Policy analysis enables us to describe and explain the causes and consequences of public policy. Policy analysis is applied to inform the policy-maker about the
- likely future consequences of choosing various alternatives. Policy analysis guides decision- makers in making optimum choices and outcomes among discrete alternatives.
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