Policy and law development is a multifaceted discipline that often requires a strong understanding of the contextual political, social and economic issues that affect it (Hill & Hupe 2014). Since many private organizations and government agencies often fail to understand this fact, they miss the opportunity to develop relevant policies and laws that would create a positive social change (Koontz & Newig 2014). This systemic problem affects different levels of public and private sector performance.
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However, there are many lessons to learn from the business, psychology, and military spheres of governance (regarding the formulation and implementation of successful policies and laws) that could be used to remedy this problem. This paper draws on some of these lessons to present a case for the development of leadership and management capabilities in policy and law development. Using an inquiry-based approach, this paper presents a high-level business case for the use of leadership and management skills in policy formulation and implementation. Key tenets of this paper explain the drivers for policy change and explain the principles that must apply for inquiry-based research to produce effective management and leadership capabilities.
This analysis occurs within a firm understanding that the main aspects of leadership and management, such as teamwork, creativity, planning and decision-making, are central to the formulation and implementation of policies and laws. Key sections of this paper also highlight the need to nurture a culture of high performance that is centered on the need to use resources efficiently to implement useful policies and laws. These insights are relevant in explaining the management of policies and development of law. In the first section of this review, we explain how military doctrine could influence the development of laws and policies.
Infusing Military Doctrine in the Development of Law and Policies
There are different lessons we could learn from the use of military strategies in the development of policies and laws. This relationship comes from the application of military doctrines in the legal practice. Based on this finding, different researchers have explored how governments could use military doctrines to leverage the policy formulation process (Santos 2013; Pollitt 2015). Those that have done so have also investigated the doctrine as another influence of an organization’s strategic direction (Scott 2013). Others have compared such an influence, as any other that would affect a typical business or political decision (Pollitt 2015).
Here, it is important to point out that the definition of strategy and policy, as applied in the military, is the same as the definition of the two concepts in policy and law. Although different researchers have presented different arguments and definitions of strategy and policy in the military, their definitions all converge in portraying these two concepts as the effective use of military means in the accomplishment of a specific policy agenda (Scott 2013). The concept of strategy, as applied in the military sense, has a deeper meaning because it involves the deployment of military capabilities through long-term planning to increase the odds of success in a military confrontation.
The similarity between the definitions of strategy in the military is the same as that incorporated in law because the latter employs its strategies as an integration of specific actions with an anticipated event to achieve a specific legal outcome (Pollitt 2015). Indeed, when lawmakers develop policies or laws, they aim to achieve a specific outcome through the employment of state or organizational resources. Thus, the definition of strategy and policy, as used in the military and in the development of law, are the same. This finding is useful in improving the policy formulation process because there is a pool of resources from the military doctrine that policy formulators could use to enhance their performance.
The drivers for maintaining authority in military doctrine and in the government are also the same because they all stem from the same basis – protecting public interests. In military doctrine, authority is maintained through an assessment of political, economic, social, environmental and religious needs (Pollitt 2015). The same drivers are the sources of authority when developing government policies because the same guidelines are aimed at protecting the political, economic, social, environmental and religious interests of the people. Indeed, as Ahmed and Dantata (2016) point out, governments have to consider different social, environmental and religious interests when making policies that apply to specific groups of people, or to an entire national population. The findings of this analysis could be useful in developing a framework for formulating laws and policies.
Being part of an international community could help in the development of policy and law because it normalizes, or standardizes, different laws, thereby creating minimal room for conflicts and misinterpretations. Cross border enforcement of laws is also possible through the internationalization of laws. Therefore, countries that are part of a larger international community could benefit from judicial cooperation because their laws are enforceable beyond their borders (Bakhtyar 2013). The contrary situation is undesirable because it would be difficult for countries that are not part of any international agreement to have their laws enforced outside their borders. Comprehensively, being part of an international community helps in the development of policies and laws through the normalization and standardization of legal statues. These findings are useful in the integration of law across international borders.
Nonetheless, global players could experience significant limitations in enforcement when a legal issue is of an international nature. In this sphere of analysis, it is critical to point out a difference between a legal understanding and information because international agreements are often based on common understandings between multiple parties, while information is mostly based on a set of rules relied on by these entities (Ahmed & Dantata 2016). Sometimes, these definitions create a lot of confusion in the implementation of law. This is why many researchers have emphasized the need for effective leadership and management of policy and law (Ahmed & Dantata 2016). Nonetheless, understanding these lessons in international law development could help to avoid legal misinterpretations and misunderstandings in the global political space.
Some key diplomatic attributes that global leaders should have to avoid these problems include a meticulous attention to detail and an analytical temperament because the global legal space is more complex today than it was in the past. Indeed, leaders need to know how to navigate through the different tenets of international legal enforcement, with minimal distractions and with a laser focus in achieving the desired goals. The findings of this analysis could be useful in choosing the right leader to spearhead the policy formulation and interpretation processes.
Context for Change
To initiate change in a policy setting, it is important to create a context that would support it. Ideally, regulations should be redesigned to respond to the complexities of different societies. The main drivers of change in the regulation environment are globalization, economic conditions, changes in civil society, cultural changes, external pressures (treaty-driven regulations), technological advances, terrorism and environmental issues (Pollitt 2015). Many jurisdictions, especially in the UK, have taken proactive measures to change their laws to align with some of these drivers. While some of them are reactionary (such as responses to terrorism), others have benefitted from regulatory foresight and changed their laws to pre-empt some of the aforementioned drivers of change. These findings are useful in public education because people need to understand why change needs to occur.
Doing nothing has never been an option for many countries, whenever there is a need to change, because some of the drivers of change cannot be effectively ignored because of their adverse outcomes. For example, terrorism is a key driver of legal change and cannot be ignored because it is important for authorities to be a step ahead of the terrorists. Doing so requires them to use existing legal jurisdictions to get the information they need and deter the terrorists from causing harm to the public. Environmental change is also a key driver affecting the legal environment and cannot be ignored because of its possible devastating outcomes on human wellbeing.
Global warming and severe weather patterns are some of the issues that could arise from the failure of countries to effectively address such a problem. This is why many nations come together in global conferences to address the issue of climate change because they recognize that it cannot be ignored anymore. The Paris Climate Agreement, which is a legally binding document signed by hundreds of countries, is a product of such a conference. Comprehensively, based on the consequences attached to some drivers of change, doing nothing is not an option. This finding is useful in encouraging stakeholders to be part of policy change processes.
While “doing something” is a positive step towards addressing some of the issues highlighted above, changes to legislation do not always lead to policy changes, or reform. This problem often arises from several issues, including poor enforcement of legislations, lack of goodwill to “do the right thing” and sabotage by people or parties who may have conflicting interests (Pollitt 2015). This finding is essential in assessing the risks associated with policy implementation.
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Based on the aforementioned issues, there is a need to undertake independent inquiry into legislative change. This function cannot be left to the government alone because some agencies could be compromised, or fail to be objective, when undertaking such inquiries. An independent inquiry would be free from such influences and promote an objective analysis of the legislative change process (Bakhtyar 2013). This analysis is useful in evaluating policy implementation processes.
Based on the above factors, there are supposed to be checks associated with the lawmaking process because there is a limit that lawmaking should extend to. Furthermore, there is a limit that lawmaking should stop. For example, law making should only extend to the protection of public interests and refrain from infringing on private ones (Bakhtyar 2013).
This provision explains why most jurisdictions protect certain freedoms, such as the freedom of worship, because they understand the need to protect private interests, while at the same time preserving public ones. Additionally, the process of making laws should stop at the point where there is a judicial process preventing the process, or if there are existing international statutes that prevent the same (Koontz & Newig 2014). These finding are essential in developing limitations of law.
My criteria for changing current law or initiating a new law would mostly be hinged on an evaluation of whether the laws deviate from the interests of the people, or parties, it is supposed to govern. For example, laws should be changed when they deviate from the interests of the people it is supposed to cater to. New laws should be initiated when existing laws fail to sufficiently address new issues emerging in the society.
For example, different jurisdictions have had to introduce new laws to prosecute cyber crime because this is a new type of problem affecting societies today. The same is true for countries that have withstood the worst of terrorist attacks because they have to introduce new laws to manage new threats. This observation was true for America after the 9/11 attacks because it had to introduce new laws on information access, which was a big political issue at the time. Comprehensively, these findings show that new laws should be introduced when new issues have to be addressed.
Understanding how to Assess and Benchmark Performance
There are different types of data that could be used to assess or benchmark performance. However, they are mostly dependent on the type of business one is engaged in, or the kind of services offered by an institution. Indeed, based on the type of work involved, different benchmarks of performance could be used to evaluate performance. For example, to assess the performance of a police service, we could use unique benchmarks, such as crime rates, arrests, clearances and response times. Although there is a big debate surrounding the role of creativity in law, the science behind the concept in human beings is straightforward.
Psychologists and biologists have often explained how the human brain is engaged in creative thinking by showing that the left and right sides of the brain serve different functions (Santos 2013). While the right side of the brain is mostly engaged with logic and reasoning, the left side of the brain is mostly responsible for creativity. This explanation is mostly contained in the left-brain right-brain theory, which presupposes that creativity is often associated with people who are right brained and they are more tuned to be intuitive, subjective and creative. These findings are useful in understanding the source of human creativity.
Although the use of creative thinking in law is considered relatively problematic, some researchers point out that there are specific instances when creative thinking may be valuable in the practice. According to Bullock and Sindall (2014), there are many opportunities for using creative thinking in law, most of which are concentrated in the area of problem solving. In fact, they say that effective lawyers are mostly creative thinkers. For example, creative lawyers often use infographics as a tool for presenting arguments. These findings are instrumental in understanding how to incorporate creativity in policy and law development.
Although there are unique situations for using creative thinking, as outlined above, the process is not often acceptable in some legal contexts. Part of the reason for this issue is the belief by some practitioners and the public that it may cause a travesty of justice (Bullock & Sindall 2014). Others believe that it may cause an injustice because it could involve people “twisting” the law to suit their arguments (Bakhtyar 2013). In this regard, some people believe that the spirit and letter of the law would not be followed if creativity were allowed. Those who hold this view assume a “black and white” view of justice. For example, they would argue that a person has either broken or the law or not. In other words, there are no special circumstances to “twist” the analogy to suit one version of an argument or another.
There are different risks associated with using creative thinking techniques. Most of them centre on the failure of the new ideas to work. For example, coming up with a creative legal maneuver may fail to achieve the desired goal and create resentment among all or some of the parties involved. Granted, creativity comes with its own set of risks because most creative ideas are novel ones. Nonetheless, the absence of a record of accomplishment to prove their success underlines the risk itself because there is always a possibility that the new ideas may fail to work. This is why many analysts often recommend the development of a counter strategy in case the creative idea fails (Pollitt 2015). These findings are instrumental in developing a risk framework for policy implementation.
Since research has proved that some people may be more creative than others are, people who are not creative may find themselves stuck in situations that demand such ingenuity. One solution for overcoming this problem is to develop a problem-solving team. Having a collaborative approach to problem solving will help people who are not creative to get assistance from other members of the team who are creative (Pollitt 2015). Alternatively, some researchers also propose the creation of relaxed workplace environments to stimulate creativity. For example, some have recommended taking a walk, or a stroll, to boost creativity for people who are not naturally this way (Bullock & Sindall 2014). These findings give a pointer on how non-creative people can be creative at work.
Although some people sometimes question the link between creativity and law, I have witnessed instances where the concept has been successfully practiced in the field. There is a case where a defendant was accused of stealing a bunch of notes that were presented in court and serialized to show that they were the missing notes. His lawyer creatively argued that such evidence could not be admissible in court because the law stated that someone who had knowledge of the contents should present evidence. In the aforementioned case, the court ruled that the evidence was inadmissible because the serial numbers of the notes were produced from a computer, which was incapable of knowing the contents of the case (Bullock & Sindall 2014). Although this ruling was a travesty of justice, it shows how creativity can be successfully used to win cases. From this example, I have learned that creativity and law can coexist perfectly so long as the creative element of an argument does not contravene the rights of any of the parties involved.
Comparatively, Chanin (2014) presents a different case where creativity has failed to work in the legal setting where in an electoral petition in Ghana one aggrieved party felt the he was cheated of a win and wanted the results nullified by the court. The defendants argued that the evidences of cheating could not be admissible because they were time barred (the application for nullification was made late). However, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiff. This case shows the limits of creativity.
Engaging the public in assessing and benchmarking performance is a strategy recommended by Dawson and Stanko (2013) and Effiong (2013) to realize public buy-in in the implementation of public policies and laws. Policymakers could engage with the people using crowd sourcing because it has the ability to reach a large number of people within a short time and in a relatively inexpensive way (Dawson & Stanko 2013). Comparatively, the ideal way of involving the public via the ethnography approach is through focus groups (Scottish Parliament Justice Committee on Policing 2013).
The public could also be engaged in the policy making process through idea generation, which should typically happen through brainstorming (Dawson & Stanko 2013). Deliberative dialogues are often up-close and personal and should typically involve getting the views of experts or peers in the policy-making process. Lastly, getting the views of the public through social media platforms could be another way of engaging the public in the policy making process. However, this type of platform is often prone to abuse. Therefore, it should be consistently checked and monitored to make sure that only the useful views are included in the policy-making process. These findings explain the factors to consider when choosing the right engagement platform to use in the policy making process.
Policymakers could also use other techniques in their work to make or design policies that are beneficial to the society. For example, the use of change cards is an unconventional and sometime unpopular technique of policymaking that could be used by this group of professionals to formulate and implement policies. Policy makers often use change cards to give a different view of the process, usually by challenging conventional assumptions about the same (Dawson & Stanko 2013). This technique could be beneficial in developing new ideas about policy. Open-policy techniques are also alternative tools that could be used in the policy-making process. People who choose to use them are often curious, networked or digitally engaged. Collectively, these kinds of techniques would be instrumental in generating novel ideas in the policy-making process.
Nonetheless, using open policy-techniques comes with new challenges when applied in the workplace setting because it is prone to conflict and fierce debates, as noted in my workplace setting. The reaction I would get from using this type of technique in my workplace setting is unique because people would appreciate it because they are often governed by dictatorial management guidelines that rarely appreciate open discussions. Therefore, if management were to introduce an open-policy system that fosters transparency and values public opinion, many of my colleagues would embrace it. These findings are useful in highlighting the importance of transparency in the workplace and policy environments.
Importance of Communication in the Development of Policy or Law
One of the most important aspects of policy development is communication. In this regard, policy makers need to possess important communication skills because it would help them to engage effectively with the public, or the people who are subject to the policies in the first place. For example, these skills are essential in developing trust and cultivating positive relationships with the public because some members of the public often view some policies suspiciously. Areas that are often characterized with increased suspicion about law enforcement are key areas that require constant communication with the public about the policy making process.
Based on the inherent risks associated with poor communication, or the lack of it, it is important to align policy with the communication structure to achieve the intended goals because without doing so, the policy making process becomes irrelevant or problematic (De Sardan & Ridde, 2015). These findings are instrumental in highlighting the need for stakeholder involvement in the policy formulation process.
At the same time, it is pertinent to ensure that the right inputs are involved in the communications process because the right stakeholders need to be consulted, in the right way, for the best results to be realized. For example, it is important to have a sound communication strategy that aligns with the views of the target audience. Furthermore, it is important for policy-makers to be sensitive about the cultural or political issues that may cloud the communication process. These findings are important in developing the right message contents for each stakeholder group.
Although the communication structure needs to be thoughtful of the interests of all stakeholders involved, it is also essential for the actors and institutions involved in the process to manage their expectations well because the process is often complex. The possibility of policy failures, or disagreements, is often real as is the likelihood that specific policies may fail to achieve their intended goals.
The Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education highlights this fact because although a specific ruling was given, there was no reliable implementation framework to enforce the ruling (De Sardan & Ridde 2015). This example shows the possibility of failed expectations despite the existence of a meticulous process of policy formulation. This finding is important in preparing stakeholders for possible outcomes associated with policy implementation.
A critical component of managing expectations is setting realistic objectives. This is highlighted in literatures that have investigated why policies have failed to achieve their goals (Hill & Hupe 2014). They have shown that setting unrealistic goals is part of the problem. Policy-makers should make sure that the goals set in the policies are not only attainable but also realistic. Similarly, efforts should be made to understand the capacity of the stakeholders involved to formulate and implement policy guidelines as well as the resources available to implement specific policy guidelines. These findings are useful in developing the policy framework for the implementation of existing and new laws.
Options for a Communications Strategy
The elements of strategic communications that I can consider for communicating with internal and external stakeholders in my work include having the right team and knowing the target audience (Hill & Hupe 2014). These elements of strategic communication are important in communicating with the stakeholders because they complement each other in the sense that knowing the right target audience helps to assemble the right team to develop the right contents that would appeal to the audience. These findings are useful in understanding how to develop the right communication framework for policy development.
My former supervisor, Edward May is one person who has taught me how to develop effective communications strategies because I have seen him develop some of the most successful communication strategies responsible for the success of my former company. He developed a successful marketing campaign that saw the company’s sales increase by 50%. This strategy was hinged on developing the right communication content on the digital space. This finding is useful in demonstrating how the right selection of communication elements could yield unforeseen success in policy development.
Although other people have achieved tremendous success in communication, it is often difficult to know which communication strategy appeals to a specific workplace or institutional setting (Froestad, Grimwood & Herbstein 2015). This is the case in my organization because there are unique situational issues that require a specific communication strategy.
However, based on the recommendations of Fyfe (2014), people should always use past examples as reference points when formulating communication strategies. This is a solution to my organizational context because I can use past examples of successful communication strategies to understand how to design my communication plan to appeal to the target market. This finding helps in identifying the right elements of communication to include in the policy planning process.
Nonetheless, knowing what is right is not enough to guarantee the success of a communication plan. According to Fyfe and Scott (2013), there needs to be several things in place to implement a successful communications plan. One of them is a right team that would steer the entre communications process. This finding is useful in knowing the supportive structure to have when developing a communication plan.
The last step in developing a communications strategy is understanding how to evaluate it. To understand the effectiveness of the communication strategy, I would assess the feedback received from the other parties in the communication framework. A high volume of feedback could possibly signify the effectiveness of the communication strategy. Another strategy I could use to evaluate the communication strategy is testing the communication plan on a sample of people that have the same characteristics as the target audience. This process would create opportunities to tweak the strategy depending on how well the sample group responds to the overall plan (Fyfe & Scott 2013). These findings are useful in fine-tuning a policy plan.
Gaining an Insight into the Audience’s Views
As highlighted in the above section of this paper, developing an effective communication framework/strategy is important in the policy formulation process. However, implementing a seamless communication plan requires policymakers to gain an insight into the perspectives, or views, of the audience, which they target. An inquiry-based approach is an effective way of developing leadership and management expertise in this process (Fyfe & Scott 2013). This approach mostly works by asking the audience probing questions in an open and interactive way, as opposed to presenting a stream of arguments or information to be discussed.
The inquiry-based approach to seeking the views of the audience regarding their perception of policy-making is also justified in the context of this study because it helps to arouse curiosity of audiences that may not be interested in the policy-making process in the first place. This problem often affects the policy-making processes because even when organizers arrange for public discussions about critical issues, a significant percentage of people may fail to show up (Whitford 2014).
This kind of apathy is detrimental to the entire process because it denies the policy-makers an opportunity to get an accurate view of the views of the public. An inquiry-based approach helps to solve this problem by arousing the interests of the public regarding the policy-making process. Through the same process, audiences are likely to benefit from an increased understanding of the policy-making process because open discussions guide them on how to contribute and help them understand the critical areas that need their attention. In this regard, they are likely to develop a growth mindset that should be cultivated within a culture of public participation in civic affairs, or policy-making processes (Fyfe & Scott 2013).
Some literatures have shown that the benefits of using an inquiry-based approach in policy-making are much deeper because they help policy-makers to engage the audiences beyond the level of general curiosity, by allowing them to develop a critical and in-depth understanding of the policies discussed (Fyfe & Scott 2013). This approach has a proven record of accomplishment in education and business management because it has been proved to be successful in improving the competencies of teachers, managers and leaders in understanding the issues that affect their subjects (Fyfe 2014).
The same success could easily be replicated in the policy environment because managers and leaders are in a better position of understanding the views of their audiences by adopting this inquiry-based engagement approach. The findings of this analysis can be useful in understanding how best to engage audiences regarding policy issues. Since the context of discussion is of a public nature, the findings of this study are useful in increasing the participation of audiences in public forums.
Changes in Communication and their Effects on Policing
Globalization is one aspect of modern communication that I need to understand for policy safety and security. In other words, as Fyfe, Terpstra and Tops (2013) observe, people should understand that the audience today is no longer local but global. This aspect of communication is useful in designing messages for different stakeholders because policy-makers should understand that a global audience would spontaneously consume their messages (Barbosa & Brusca 2015).
In the context of policy formulation, speaking is the most important aspect of communication that I would use. It involves conveying information to receivers in ways that they understand. Speaking may occur in town hall meetings, public forums and the likes. Although this aspect of communication may be effective in getting instant responses from the public, it is still subject to changes in modern technology. This finding is important in identifying the right communication platform to use in policymaking.
The digital revolution is perhaps the most dominant force that could change speaking as an aspect of communication (Greasley & Hanretty 2016). The digital revolution is bound to affect public speaking by changing the entire format of communication in a way that people may not necessarily see the need to attend public meetings (because such engagements could happen in a virtual setting). These findings can be used in designing communication messages, or (broadly) in determining the best communication strategy to use.
I could be in touch with changes in communication by observing existing trends and seeing what industry leaders are doing (Barbosa & Brusca 2015). This strategy stems from the fact that industry leaders often dictate the new ways of communication and influence the kind of communication platforms that would be available in the future. Here, there needs to be a thoughtful communication structure, which allows people to understand their roles, and obligations in the entire communication framework (Fyfe 2014). This provision does not only include the communication team, but also the subjects of the communication plan because they need to understand who to consult whenever they have questions, or want to seek clarification about a specific issue. These findings are useful in the risk management process associated with policy formulation.
Lastly, I believe there is a gap between perception and reality, as is communicated in the political setting. The digital age has especially brought new challenges to the process of deciphering messages that are reliable and credible from those that are not. In this regard, I believe the line between perception and reality is increasingly blurred. Thus, it is becoming important for people to take extra care when consuming information available in the public domain because what may be presented as factual may not necessarily be so. These findings could be instrumental in evaluating what is important and what is not.
Developing Communications vs. Developing Policy and Law and Stakeholder Mapping in the Communication Process
As highlighted above, developments in communication happen all the time and affect how people conduct their business in the policy-making arena. However, it is important to point out that there are differences in communications development and the development of policies and law. One of the most significant differences between developments in communication and developments in policy and law is the context in which they both occur. Advances in communication are often non-contextualized, but developments in policy and law are often contextualized. For example, developments in policies and laws often happen within jurisdictional boundaries, but developments in communication are not limited this way (Greasley & Hanretty 2016).
Another difference between the development of policies and communications is the trajectory of developments that often occur in each segment (Ferlie & McGivern 2014). In policy implementation, it is difficult for any development to contradict an existing policy or law. However, the same is not true when developing communications because a new development could easily contradict a previous one and become acceptable. Comparatively, one notable similarity between policy and law development and developments in communication is that both advances are designed to improve public welfare. These findings are useful in understanding the limitations and delimitations of policy development.
According to Hill and Hupe (2014), stakeholder mapping important in the communications process because it helps policy-makers to understand their partners better. In this regard, the stakeholder mapping process will help policy-makers to develop their communications in a way that would avoid the risk of misunderstanding in the long-term. By understanding the stakeholders better, they would also be in a good position to tailor their messaging strategies and develop the contents of their communication to align with the needs of the stakeholders. These insights show that stakeholders are an important part of the policy-making process because they could “make or break” the process.
There are different ways through which policy-makers can get the agreements of their key stakeholders during the policy-formulation process. One way of doing so is to collaborate with them because collaboration is a form of partnership and a type of approval for the activity or policy in question (Hill & Hupe 2014). Indeed, it is difficult for stakeholders to agree to collaborate with policy-makers on an issue that they do not approve. Therefore, their willingness to collaborate is a form of agreement on the type of policy being developed.
Empowering the stakeholders is also another way of getting the agreements of the stakeholders in the policy-formulation process because the process is supposed to benefit the stakeholders. Often, when stakeholders are empowered, they approve of the process or policies that lead to this outcome (Ferlie & McGivern 2014). Conversely, if the policy-formulation process does not empower them, they are bound to feel frustrated and refuse to approve of the process. In this regard, empowerment stands out as a key step in getting stakeholders to agree on the policy-formulation process. These findings are useful improving the stakeholder engagement process.
Implementing and Delivering Policies
Having an over-ambitious timescale is at the top of the list of challenges associated with policy implementation because policy-makers sometimes create unrealistic targets for implementing different phases of a policy, thereby making it difficult to implement the project well (De Sardan & Ridde, 2015). The failure to properly plan for the implementation process is a key cause of this problem because having inadequate knowledge about the requirements of the implementation process could mislead policy planners to create the unrealistic timescales. In this regard, planners should conduct proper research and provide realistic guidelines for when specific policy implementation phases should be completed (De Sardan & Ridde, 2015).
At the same time, it is vital for policy planners to ensure that the people who are mandated to implement the said policies have the requisite skills and requirements needed for the job. As Holmberg (2014) points out, it is important for policy planners to train the policy implementers about the process. These findings are instrumental in the formulation and implementation of policy plans. More so, they are valuable in understanding the steps that need to be followed when implementing policy plans.
Poor project management is also a likely cause of the poor implementation of policies. Policy implementers need to protect themselves from this risk because poor project management often leads to missed deadlines and poor relationships between stakeholders (De Sardan & Ridde, 2015). To shield themselves from this mistake, the project managers need to ensure that there is sufficient communication among all the stakeholders involved so that they all understand what the implementation process entails. They also need to understand how each part of the implementation process works together because failing to do so often leads to the failure of some people involved in the implementation process to do their work on time (Holmberg 2014).
To shield themselves from most of the aforementioned perils, policy-makers also need to ensure they have a contingency plan to specify the necessary actions that need to be taken when the project fails. This plan should also specify the kind of risks that policy planners could face when implementing the policies (Holmberg 2014). Having this plan in place could salvage a bad situation where the implementation process has failed to achieve its goals. The policy planners would be able to get right back on track when they have this plan. This way, it would be easy for public institutions to protect their resources and minimize the inconveniencies that they would experience from the failure of their implementation plan.
A key part of the implementation plan is also the clarification of roles among all the actors involved in the implementation process. This process would save time and resources because the implementers would not waste a lot of time on undertaking projects that do not add value to the implementation goal. Nonetheless, at the center of the process of minimizing this risk is the need to make the right decisions surrounding the implementation plan. The section below outlines how to devise a map for designing the decision-making process.
Devising a Map for the Decision-Making Process
Before determining the need for a policy or law change, I would follow a specific step of action reviews that would clarify the process. One criterion of doing so is checking to see if the policy review process is due because in some organizations, policies and laws are reviewed periodically (Holmberg & Balvig 2013). If this is the case, the policy review process should occur without fail. These findings are useful in evaluating new policies before they are implemented.
When developing the decision-making map, there are limits to which a person could infer decisions based on environmental or personal factors. The minimum I could do before making any decision in this regard is to understand the existing decision alternatives. This is the only way that a person could know which decision to make because without doing so, it would be difficult to know which course of action to take. The maximum I could do is to start executing the idea as a preliminary test to understand how I would feel about its implementation. Doing so could lead to the development of new ideas, or a change of the initial decision, depending on the outcome of the testing phase.
Setting the objectives is also a central theme in the decision-making process. To do so, I would use the SMART framework as proposed by House (2013). This framework dictates that goals or objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (House 2013). Similarly, I would make sure that the objectives formulated fit within the overall vision of the institution because they should be relevant to the overall mission and vision of the organization. These alternatives are useful in developing a criterion for developing policy goals.
Although the options that would be generated using the SMART guidelines may be relevant to the overall vision and mission of the organizations, there is a need to refine them further to get only the ones that would be easy to implement with minimal resources. These two criteria would be used to refine the objectives. Sharing the ideas (of the objectives) with peers would also help to refine the objectives further to come up with those that are appropriate for implementation. A third party analysis could help to point out issues with specific objectives that the original formulator could not see (Tummers 2017). These findings are instrumental in developing a policy review guideline.
To make sure that I have selected the best business case for the policy review process, I would check to see if there are any inconsistencies in them. Particularly, inconsistencies with the overall goals of the institution, or of the policy framework, would be deemed unacceptable because it would mean that the objectives are counterproductive, or ineffective, in the accomplishment of institutional goals (Tummers 2017). Collectively, this process would make sure that the selected business case appeals to the overarching goals of the organization and complements it as opposed to contradicting it.
Building and Assessing Capabilities for Implementing Policies or a Piece of Legislation
Before implementing policies or pieces of legislation, it is important to make sure that there is adequate capacity to do so. Using an inquiry-based approach, it is possible to assess such capabilities by identifying and resolving barriers that would stand in the way of implementing the policies (Whitford 2014). To do so, it could be useful to undertake a pilot test to assess people’s response towards the policy or law. This test would provide a general overview of the barriers that may arise in the implementation of a policy. From their identification, it would be easier to address the problems that affect the implementation process by consulting with stakeholders who may not support the process.
Another criterion I would consider for reviewing existing policies is checking out whether they align with any changes in the policy environment. If they do not align with the institutional framework, the need for a review would be inevitable. The same is true if they fail to align with the institutional goals currently in place. Tweaks to the policy implementation process may occur as a result (Whitford 2014). These findings are important in developing contents to use in the policy formulation process.
In other words, based on the findings highlighted in this paper, we find that many facts about policy and law implementation and formulation could be borrowed from other disciplines, such as business and military strategic development. Broadly, we also find that the internationalization of law is beneficial for parties that ascribe to international legal agreements because they would easily implement or enforce their laws outside their borders through jurisdictional cooperation. However, the global space is complex, owing to the multiplicity of different interests from global players. Therefore, it is important for leaders to demonstrate good leadership acumen hinged on the execution of well thought out diplomatic strategies.
Policies that need to be implemented rapidly may come with increased risks of suspicion and poor implementation because there is not enough time to plan for their application. To manage these risks, it is important to undertake public education about the urgency of implementing such policies so that people are not suspicious about the process. If the stakeholders understand the reasons for implementing such policies quickly, they are bound to create less resistance to the process. This finding could be useful in reducing the barriers associated with implementing new policies.
To make sure that such policies are relevant for a long period and align with government policies, it is also important to design them to align with international best practice because this is what most policy formulation processes are striving to align with (Fyfe 2014). The main assumption here is that governments would not want to isolate themselves from the rest of the world. Therefore, they would want to align their laws and policies to align with international best practice. Although this strategy is not 100% guaranteed to align policies with future political interests, it is the best bet that policymakers could make if they want their policies to remain relevant over long periods (Fyfe 2014).
To achieve the above objective, it is pertinent to make sure that the policy implementation process is a part of the policy design phase. Doing so requires policy planners to involve actors or players who would be involved in the policy implementation phase to be part of the policy design team. In this regard, when the policy design phase is happening, they may give their input because they would want to make sure that the design phase does not interfere with the implementation phase. In fact, according to Hupe (2014), they would want to make the design phase work for them by giving in their input before the completion of this stage. This finding is useful in improving stakeholder buy-in.
One barrier that could possibly impede the implementation of a policy plan is the resistance to change by some stakeholders. This barrier could also affect the roles and responsibilities that are allocated to those who will spearhead the implementation process, or be a part of the team because it could make some of them hesitant to carry out their duties (Fyfe 2014).
Since some of the senior managers in organizations are also resistant to change, it may also be difficult getting all the resources needed in the implementation plan. The same group of people may also affect details of the finance, skills and infrastructure that are important in the implementation process. Therefore, having a culture of change is important in the implementation process because, as seen from the examples above, it may be difficult to control its effects on different aspects of the project plan.
Safeguarding the Trust of Partners and Stakeholders
One of the ways of building trust in the policy implementation process is communicating regularly with all stakeholders to inform them about what is happening in the policy-formulation process, as well as involving them in the same process as well. Such communication structures should be clear and open so that no player feels left out, or sidelined during the process of policy formulation. The underlying lesson here is that trust can only be fostered if the communication structure is clear, regular and open.
Another step that we could take to build trust among stakeholders is to allow relationships among stakeholders to develop incrementally, as opposed to one-offs. The key for doing this is to allow partners to develop deep-rooted relationships, which cannot occur without allowing the players to take their time to trust each other (Van Sluis, Cachet & Jochoms 2013). Particularly, if stakeholders are entering into a relatively under-researched policy area, they may encounter the challenge of not knowing how their policy recommendations would be received. One stakeholder may understand the strengths and weaknesses of the policy better than others do and teach the others on the same subject and create a stronger implementation team. However, if trust were developed in this kind of environment, it would be easier for the concerned parties to take their time to do so, as opposed to rushing to forge such relationships (Zhan, Lo & Tang 2014). This approach would be a key hallmark in my quest to foster stakeholder trust.
While developing trust is an essential part of the policy implementation phase, making sure that the stakeholders deliver on what they are supposed to, and within the right specifications, could be problematic for most policy planners (Ingold & Leifeld 2016). To mitigate this challenge, I would curb the problem by choosing carefully the stakeholders to work with. These findings are useful in improving stakeholder engagement.
Managing stakeholders could be a difficult process especially if there are many cases of lip service, as opposed to the actual aiding of the implementation process. Managing stakeholders therefore becomes an important task for policy formulators because doing so is the only sure way of pushing them to achieve their objectives (Fyfe & Scott 2013). Although some of them may not necessarily meet the specified level of performance, it is important to adopt the views of Koontz and Newig (2014) who say that not all stakeholders are the same.
Therefore, it is pertinent to define different levels of acceptable behavior for each group of stakeholder. Stated differently, each stakeholder should be evaluated differently to understand how his or her behaviors affect the overall implementation plan. If their failure to meet the desired objectives falls within the acceptable boundaries, I believe that nothing should be done. In worse situations, a warning may work to inform them about the effects of their behavior on the overall policy implementation process.
However, when such warnings are ignored, it is imperative for the policy implementers to reprimand such stakeholders by excluding them from future engagements (Koontz & Newig 2014). Having an implementation unit to enforce these guidelines is important. Such implementation teams help policy makers in different ways.
For example, their contribution, in this context, could be practical, in the sense that they could be the team on the ground to liaise with stakeholders and make sure that each one was doing what is required of them. Their contribution could also be advisory because they could provide informed advice to the top leadership of government agencies and the policy teams (Ulibarri 2015). The lesson we can learn here is that of proper stakeholder management because although they may understand what to do, they may not necessarily deliver. Therefore, the findings of this section are important in safeguarding the policy implementation success.
Based on the above assertion, one may question whether the actions or behaviors of others may be transferable to the managers of the policy implementation team. I believe that this is a fallacy because it is difficult to control the actions of other people, while keeping the core of the implementation process in place. In other words, one has to suffer. The main observation to be made in this context is the need to let all stakeholders do what is required of them. In other words, their actions and behaviors are not the responsibility of others.
Through an effective communication framework, they already know what they are supposed to do and should work towards such a goal without necessarily transferring blame for their inability to do so to other people. Typically, whenever they fail to deliver as expected, they should be reprimanded (as highlighted above) and possibly replaced with other representative groups who are willing to accomplish the policy implementation goals.
Addressing Implementation Problems
As demonstrated in this paper, implementing policies in the public space may be a difficult process because there are several obstacles that may be experienced, ranging from poor stakeholder cooperation, inadequate resources, and the likes. Solving most of these problems could be an issue for policy planners because getting to their root causes and understanding how to navigate through these challenges without necessarily affecting others aspects of the implementation plan could be problematic.
In this regard, it is important to use an issue tree, which, as defined by Ulibarri (2015), is a customized framework for understanding the root causes of implementation problems. Such a framework could be useful in identifying solutions to specific problems. These issue trees could also be useful in structuring the implementation process and developing solutions to issues affecting the implementation plan (Koontz & Newig 2014).
For example, they could help policy planners to analyze their problems by investigating the “why” and “how” questions of policy implementation. Using this framework, they could always breakdown a question and dissect it into different parts that would help them to identify where the main issues lie (Ulibarri 2015). These findings are useful in identifying workable techniques of problem solving in the policy environment.
After the identification of implementation problems and the subsequent identification of solutions using the issue tree, it is pertinent for policy makers to develop an implementation team that would spearhead the implementation of the policies. In some cases, government organizations often seek the services of an implementation unit to carry out this function. For example, in the UK, under the Tony Blair government, there was a Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU), which was a de facto implementation team that would oversee the implementation of the government’s policies and drive its agenda through different cadres of social and political governance systems (Ulibarri 2015).
Recent governments have also had implementation units (IU) which carry out the same function. Unlike past implementation units, recent ones have developed the reputation of being more flexible and knowledgeable about how different government departments work (Koontz & Newig 2014). They have also demonstrated their knowledge on three government departments – crime reduction, health, and education (Koontz & Newig 2014). Similarly, as units that often consult with different government departments, they have a vast knowledge of interdepartmental issues that may affect the implementation agenda.
Therefore, unlike a situation where a government department may want to implement a policy by itself and run into problems associated with overstepping its mandate, the implementation units could step in and prevent such problems from happening because they understand how inter-departmental issues may arise and how they could be solved. Generally, these units are integral in increasing the capacity of policymakers to implement their policy plans. These findings can be used to simplify the process of policy implementation not only for government agencies, but also for organizations that want to implement new policies.
Developing a Culture of High-Level Performance
Developing a culture of high-level performance is important in making sure that organizations constantly meet the requirements of their customers. Using a customer journey map is one way of making sure that an organization maintains a culture of high performance because it helps them to stay focused to the main goal – customer satisfaction. Resource management processes could also be improved using this strategy because customer journey maps would help policy makers to allocate resources to the most important functions. These findings can help policymakers to improve the effectiveness of their policies.
Although having a customer journey map is integral in improving the effectiveness of new policies and laws, it is often difficult to determine the amount of resources organizations should allocate to this process. Nonetheless, according to studies by Lavertu and Moynihan (2013a), the amount of resources spent on customer mapping should correspond to the number of touch points on the customer journey map. This finding could be useful in improving resource-mapping processes associated with policy implementation processes.
Developing a customer journey map is often not important for some organizations because they deem the nature of their processes to be too small to warrant the use of such a management tool (Lavertu & Moynihan 2013a). However, this should not be the case because no matter how small a business is, they should understand their customer journey to improve the experience of their clients.
The above-mentioned benefits of the customer journey-mapping tool are important in the improvement of customer experience, but fundamentally differ from the process-mapping tool, which seeks to improve an organization’s processes, not from the customer’s point of view, but from the organization’s point of view (Greasley & Hanretty 2016). As a management tool, companies are bound to find customer journey maps to be more beneficial than process-mapping tools because they would help them to optimize their operational efficiencies and provide (almost) instant customer satisfaction by tweaking their products and services (Greasley & Hanretty 2016).
Customer-mapping tools also have a low probability of experiencing acceptability error compared to process-mapping tools because customers are used as the main measure of organizational process changes, as opposed to using what management thinks is right for the customers. The latter approach could backfire on companies because they do not understand what the customer wants (Lavertu & Moynihan 2013a). The findings are useful in identifying the target market.
Lastly, measuring customer satisfaction ratings would be an important part of the customer mapping process. To do so, undertaking a survey to assess the level of satisfaction customers have concerning a specific product or service would be a practical way of understanding their opinions (Terpstra & Fyfe 2014). Since surveys are scientific ways of assessing people’s views, the findings would be reliable in the policy implementation process because it will align it with existing customer needs and requirements.
How to Propose and obtain an Agreement for Policy or Legal Implementation
As observed by Lavertu and Moynihan (2013b), policy implementation could be a problem for many organizations and institutions. Being open-minded about this process is useful in minimizing some of the problems associated with the process because doing so could lead to the development of new and innovative ideas that would help policy implementers to overcome some of the hurdles associated with the process without using many resources (Greasley & Hanretty 2016). This finding stems from the understand that policy and law development is a multifaceted discipline that often requires a strong understanding of the contextual political, social and economic issues that affect it (Hill & Hupe 2014).
Since many private organizations and government agencies often fail to understand this fact, they miss the opportunity to develop relevant policies and laws that would create a positive social change (Koontz & Newig 2014). This systemic problem affects different levels of public and private sector performance. Therefore, it is important to be open to new ideas because it promotes the cohesiveness of the implementation team since this type of culture exemplifies the strengths of each stakeholder and accounts for any differences that may exist between them (Lavertu & Moynihan 2013b). This way, it creates an environment where people feel valued and more encouraged to participate in the implementation process.
Before undertaking significant changes in policy or regulatory framework, it is important to ask key questions such as
- How would the policy change improve the lives of the subjects?
- Who would implement the policy changes?
- Are there adequate resources to undertake the policy change?
These questions are central in making sure that the implementation process goes on smoothly and the barriers that would prevent the realization of the implementation goals are eliminated. Only after answering these questions should the policy changes go on.
Weaknesses and costs associated with the implementation plan could significantly delay the process of implementing policy changes. Bringing these concerns to parties who initiated the policy changes in the first place could be problematic because it may create mistrust and suspicion regarding the commitment to implement the change (Lavertu & Moynihan 2013b). It is important to overcome this issue because securing the trust of all stakeholder groups is an important ingredient in the successful implementation of policy implementation plans. Trust would lead the stakeholders to invest in the implementation process because they would be committed and motivated to see the successful implementation of the process, as opposed to adopting a wait and see approach, or doing the “bare minimum” (Koontz & Newig 2014).
However, to get this trust, there needs to be careful and deliberate steps taken to improve stakeholder relations. To overcome the risk of poor stakeholder involvement, it is imperative to approach this issue in a sensitive way. For example, instead of saying cost issues could be a problem, one could say, “do you think that cost issues could be a problem?” Doing so presents a non-judgmental attitude to making stakeholders aware of possible problems associated with the implementation process. The lesson here is that policy change initiators should not feel they are being judged or “being put down;” instead, they should feel that they are being “made aware” of an issue.
In case there are risks that are classified as important, attention needs to be drawn to the fact that the policy implementation process could be significantly compromised without addressing these risks. Thus, it is important to address these issues first before the policy implementation process goes on. The first step I would take in such a situation is to mitigate the risk. For example, if it was discovered that the policy implementation team does not correctly understand the scope and nature of the policy change, it should be known that the implementation process could be significantly jeopardized because it would not be able to understand the scope of the implementation plan.
The risk mitigation plan I would undertake here would be to educate the team about the policy change and make sure they understand all its tenets. However, before undertaking such a drastic process, it would be prudent to consult the policy change initiator to make sure they also understand the severity of the risk and the importance of undertaking the risk mitigation strategy. The lesson we could learn here is the need to assess all types of risk before undertaking a policy change. These findings could be useful in evaluating the policy implementation process and in maintaining good stakeholder relations, because, as demonstrated in the above strategy, the policy change initiator needs to be involved in managing the risks associated with the policy change.
Risk Identification and Management
It is often difficult to understand all types of risks that may occur in the management of policies and the development of law because it is difficult to anticipate the actions of all actors or players in the policy implementation process. Similarly, it is difficult to predict the reactions of some stakeholders after a policy change is implemented. However, as mentioned in this paper, contextual factors need to be considered when communicating with different stakeholders in the policy-making process. Each context often demands a unique communications strategy.
As a policy initiator, it is important to have absolute control of the policy implementation process because there is a likelihood that the policy implementers may fail to understand the letter or spirit of the law. Indeed, it is common for people and policy implementers to misunderstand new policies and laws, thereby requiring an interpretation of the same in a court of law (Lavertu & Moynihan 2013b).
Without an absolute control of the process, such issues are bound to arise. Consequently, it is pertinent for the policy formulator to be present, as a point of reference, to minimize the possibility of such occurrences happening, especially in the implementation phase. The findings of this section could be useful in understanding who should steer the implementation process. Indeed, as highlighted above, the policy formulators should steer the policy implementation process. These findings could be useful in determining who should spearhead the policy implementation process.
Completing the project should be the last stage of the policy implementation process. However, it is often unclear when to do so because there are some specific indicators that should let the policy implementers know that their work is done. Some of the key points to monitor before the closure of the implementation phase are a sense of alignment with the overarching goals and laws governing a specific jurisdiction and the realization of quantifiable metrics that could be shared across different government departments (Lavertu & Moynihan 2013b).
The latter metric is important because it provides a framework for understanding the initial success or failures of a policy. It could also be used as a performance measurement tool that could provide a platform for evaluating future policy changes. Ensuring that the newly implemented policies or laws align with the overarching policy environment is equally as important because, as mentioned in earlier sections of this paper, new laws should not contravene existing ones.
For example, once the policy makers establish that their new laws align with existing ones, or complement them, they would know that their work is done (Fyfe & Scott 2013). Such alignments could be with existing laws, culture of the society, or even with existing international laws. When policy makers can establish that these criteria are met, they can initiate the closure of the implementation phase. The findings of this section are useful in helping policymakers to understand some of the key performance indicators they should watch out for during the policy implementation phase.
Policy Impact Evaluation
There are two main types of evaluation criteria for analyzing the impact of policies on affected populations. One of them is the outcome evaluation criteria which strives to understand the effect of the policy implementation process on a population by evaluating its progress on people’s social, economic, or political development (Teodoro 2014). The second evaluation criterion is impact assessment, which strives to understand the effectiveness of the policy on meeting its projected outcomes (Fyfe & Scott 2013).
It is important to control who is affected by a policy because the failure to do so could significantly jeopardize the ability of policymakers to evaluate their policies. To do so, it is important to specify the exclusion and inclusion criteria in the policy to define who is affected by it and who is not. Indeed, in many countries, the impact of laws is defined by different social, political and economic metrics. For instance, in Ireland, government’s policies are made after considering the interests of people with different religious beliefs, people of different political opinions, people of different racial groups, people of different ages, people of different marital status, and people of different sexual orientation (Ahmed & Dantata 2016).
This analysis shows that these considerations affect the government’s policymaking criteria. More importantly, they span across different religious, social, economic, and political circles, the same way as other countries do (Bakhtyar 2013). In this regard, we find that many countries use social, political and economic measures to define who is affected by a policy and who is not. This finding is useful in the policy design phase because it can help policy formulators to pre-empt some of the implementation challenges that may arise and correct them accordingly.
It is also important to stop control or comparison groups from getting any intervention because they would complicate the evaluation process (Situmorang 2015). To stop this from happening, it is important to design the evaluation criterion in a way that there is a disclaimer in the decision-making process about the possible interference of the evaluation process because of the control group. This disclaimer should be made through the process of establishing the decision-making criteria (Teodoro 2014). In this section of analysis, specific decision about how the evaluation would be conducted, including the exclusion of control groups would be made.
This way, stakeholders would understand the reasons for excluding the control group and its impact on the evaluation process. Nonetheless, many practitioners often experience difficult situations where they have to build a context for change to get the support they require to build commitment and support from stakeholders during the policy evaluation processes. Thus, to get the buy-in required for undertaking the evaluation, a right context should be created and fostered (Koontz & Newig 2014). This finding would be useful in making sure that the evaluation process is contextualized to the scope of evaluation.
To ensure that the policies or laws are applied to all target groups, it is also pertinent to involve all stakeholders from all the target groups and make sure they are involved in the policy formulation and implementation phases (Situmorang 2015). There are different ways of engaging the public during policy-making. As highlighted in this paper, some of the most common ways include crowd sourcing, ethnography (decision thinking), idea generation (design thinking), deliberative dialogue, and social media analysis (Dawson & Stanko 2013). In the context of this study, crowd sourcing involves getting the views of the public from a large number of people.
Based on the sheer number of views that could be received on this platform, it is more practical for policy makers to use the internet and web-based platforms to get their views. Doing so will create awareness regarding the process and encourage them to be part of the process. Comparatively, if such methods of engagement are not used and stakeholders feel excluded from the process, they are bound to be disengaged. In extreme situations, they are bound to oppose the policies under implementation. Consequently, the policies would not apply to them. This finding is useful to our analysis because it helps to explain how to gain stakeholder buy-in in the implementation process.
Benchmarking performance is an important step for organizations and public institutions to use in policy evaluation because they help to identify gaps in performance and provide a platform, or justification, for filling them. Additionally, assessing and benchmarking performance is important for organizations and public institutions because the process helps in providing a platform for quality controls and a basis for referencing organizational performance (Barbosa & Brusca 2015). There are five key steps for assessing or benchmarking performance. They include determining what to benchmark, defining the metrics, developing a data collection methodology, collecting data, and identifying performance gap (Barbosa & Brusca 2015).
Nonetheless, to understand the causal mechanisms that affect the policy formulation process, it is important to conduct a scientific study that is based on conditional probabilities to understand how one variable affects another (Storbjörk & Isaksson 2014). In this analysis, it would be easy to make statements such as “X causes Y,” if a specific variable is constant. This approach involves holding certain variables constant to focus on one specific relationship. The findings of this analysis are useful in developing the issue tree for problem solving and problem analysis.
Resource limitations could be an impediment to the evaluation process because they could limit the ability of policymakers to evaluate all aspects of the implementation process. However, to mitigate this concern, one could employ the use of advanced technology to undertake this process. Here, the use of technology involves employing software tools, data analysis techniques, and new communication techniques in the policy evaluation process (Storbjörk & Isaksson 2014). Depending on the selected technological tool, it would be easier to choose between the impact or outcome evaluation technique.
For example, the availability and use of data analysis software could make the policy implementers move towards using the outcome evaluation method, as opposed to the impact evaluation method. Often, the adoption of these techniques is inexpensive because they help to make the evaluation process easier and more efficient. Furthermore, the increased availability of new technology has made technology cheaper. The findings of this paper could be useful in making policymakers operate more efficiently when implementing their policies.
Having powerful stakeholders in the policy implementation process could prove to be problematic for many implementation teams because their inputs could “make or break” the implementation process. Extra effort needs to be made to make sure that this group of stakeholders understands the benefits of the policy change, or the introduction of the new policies, failure to which they would not support the process (Pettas & Giannikos 2014). A high level of openness should also be characteristic of the kind of communication made with this stakeholder group.
This is aimed at gaining their trust and cultivating relationships with them. Doing so would significantly improve the odds of success in policy implementation because such powerful stakeholders are responsible for resource allocation and the creation of a sound political environment to implement the policies (Storbjörk & Isaksson 2014). Although communication is an important aspect of policy-making process, it is important to understand that past communication strategies may not be as effective as they should be because of changes in the communication landscape.
Particularly, the digital revolution has changed how people communicate and similarly affected the efficacy of traditional communication techniques, such as print media and television. Based on these changes, we should understand many things regarding the modern communication landscape and its effects on policy, safety and security. The findings highlighted in this section could be useful in improving stakeholder engagement.
Lastly, within the evaluation design, there needs to be a plan to mitigate completion risks because the possibility that the implementation plan may fail to materialize is real. In such circumstances, it would be prudent to transfer the risk to a third party, such an insurance company, to manage such a risk because it may be difficult to control it within the institution or agency involved (Pettas & Giannikos 2014). Similarly, it could be prudent to shorten the time involved in the implementation phase to minimize the room for error.
This analysis occurs within a firm understanding that the main aspects of leadership and management, such as teamwork, creativity, planning and decision-making, are central to the formulation and implementation of policies and laws. Key sections of this analysis also highlight the need to nurture a culture of high performance that is centered on the need to use resources efficiently to implement useful policies and laws. These insights are relevant in explaining the management of policies and development of law and are useful in improving the outcomes of implementation processes because they would help policy implementers to reach their goals on time.
Considerations in Policy Implementation
According to Ferlie and McGivern (2014), there are different communication strategies, such as television communications, social media campaigns, public forums of engagement and the likes. This finding is useful in understanding the types of risks to consider in the overall policy implementation plan. There are several issues to consider during the policy implementation phase. For example, when identifying the criteria to choose for identifying a policy problem that needs to be tackled, it is critical to carry out an impact assessment test to evaluate the significance of the problem to the overall policy implementation process (Pettas & Giannikos 2014).
For example, only those policy problems that significantly influence organizational activities and human societies should be considered for review. Policymakers use this basis to develop policies that are relevant to human societies. In fact, Barbosa and Brusca (2015) say that courts often refrain from giving widely unpopular decisions because they know such rulings could be defied if they do not relate or resonate with the people they are intended for. When such issues happen, there is a risk of of people deeming them as irrelevant. Generally, policy problems that do not have a high level of materiality should not be given much attention. However, those that are material to the accomplishment of the policy goals should be managed with a lot of care. These findings are useful in making sure that policy makers understand which problems to focus on when implementing the policy plans.
The process of understanding which group of people the policy would mostly affect should inform the process of choosing a target audience for a new policy (Pettas & Giannikos 2014). Stated differently, those who are mostly affected by the policy would be the perfect target audience because there is no reason for other people to care about a policy that does not affect them (Scottish Parliament Justice Committee on Policing 2013).
The inquiry-based approach of gaining insight into the audience’s view is often justifiable when building the capacity for leadership to identify the target audience because it allows the managers to take ownership of the policy-making process, thereby increasing their odds of supporting the outcome of the process (Fyfe 2014). Through the same approach, not only will the audience’s voices be fortified, but also they would feel empowered to embrace the process and deem it their own (Whitford 2014).
The inquiry-based approach is also justifiable in this case because it would help to increase audience engagement in the policy-making process, thereby giving the policy-makers an opportunity to gain an insight into their views. This step is unlike other methods of seeking the public’s views, which could be limited by the audience’s unwillingness to participate in the process. The inquiry-based approach solves this problem by increasing the motivation for the audience to engage in such discussions. Through the process, the facilitator could observe and understand the views of the audience (Fyfe & Scott 2013). This finding is useful in designing communication plans, in the policy formulation phase, because the communication strategy should align with the needs of the audience.
Many government agencies use a payment for results method to run policies. However, this method is not effective in the public sector, and more so in the policy formulation and implementation arena, because the public space is often vulnerable to unforeseen changes, which could impede the process of policy implementation.
For example, propaganda could change people’s views about a policy and create public disapproval towards it (Scottish Parliament Justice Committee on Policing 2013). In fact, history is littered with many cases where noble ideas have been shelved because of bad politics and the unwillingness of some actors to do what they are supposed to do (Scottish Parliament Justice Committee on Policing 2013). In this regard, it is difficult to secure the success of policy implementation processes regardless of how much one actor may be committed to the process. The findings of this paper are useful in improving the evaluation of policy outcomes.
Lastly, although people may have a high level of commitment to implementing new policies, independent research may show that the policies have failed to meet their required objectives (Padurariu 2014). In such cases, the researchers should report such findings to relevant stakeholders, as opposed to shielding them from the public. The importance of doing so is to maintain good stakeholder relationships and possibly provide an environment where changes could be made to improve the problematic areas (Padurariu 2014). The findings of this analysis are useful in helping policy implementers to understand what to do when they encounter problems in the implementation process.
Independent Evaluation and Auditing
Since government spending may sometimes lack the clarity and transparency required of such an institution, it is important to undertake independent audits to investigate government spending (O’Toole 2017). There is a lot of value in carrying out independent audits because investors are likely to have confidence in the government and its spending habits because they could rely on an audit report that is objective and free from interference (Scottish Parliament Justice Committee on Policing 2013). Independent audits would also minimize the possibility of fraud, especially from errand government officials who may want to swindle public funds because they know that an audit would reveal their misgivings.
Based on these factors, it is important to point out that the findings of this analysis are central in increasing transparency in government spending. This is a critical component of the policy implementation process because the misuse of government funds could easily deprive policy implementers the resources meant for the policy implementation process (Scottish Parliament Justice Committee on Policing 2013). The main finding we get from this analysis is the need to train all employees to carry out their functions well to minimize the risk of fraud. In this step, the planners should avail all the important information pertaining to the policies to allow the trainees to understand what is required of them.
All concerned parties should also reiterate these policies regularly so that all stakeholders internalize them. Doing so will ensure that the implementers are equipped to manage most of the challenges associated with the policy implementation process. Similarly, to avoid such risks, there should be a clear definition of roles in the organization. This effort would help them to avoid unnecessary arguments about who needs to do what and where. Indeed, as Holmberg and Balvig (2013) points out, people tend to work better with each other when their roles are clearly defined. Conflicts between members of the implementation team would hereby reduce, thereby increasing the opportunity for successfully implementing policies. Comprehensively, most of the challenges defined above need to be mitigated to minimize the risk of fraud or a poor implementation of policies (Holmberg & Balvig 2013).
Although auditing is usually based on past performance, its findings could still be relied on to monitor what is happening in the present. This fact stems from the fact that past information could be used as a reliable measure of predicting the future, or understanding the present (De Sardan & Ridde, 2015). For example, an audit report that shows areas of pilferage of funds could be used as a reliable measure to predict areas of weakness in financial management. The same is true if I undertake extensive consultations with professionals who are knowledgeable about the field, and most importantly those who understand the organizational setting. These examples explain how to detect cases of financial impropriety in an organization, or institution. Such cases are likely to affect the quality of policy implementation. Comprehensively, the findings of this paper are useful in understanding how best to manage resources through early detection of risk areas.
Developing and Maintaining a Culture of Performance
Having a high-performance culture is useful in improving the probability of a successful implementation of policy objectives. For example, such a culture could help to make useful predictions about how people could respond to a new policy (De Sardan & Ridde, 2015). Some researchers often argue that it is not important to try and make predictions about new policies, but findings from Liu et al. (2015) show that doing so is important in designing policies so that they are able to overcome some of the challenges or impediments to policy implementation.
The failure to predict policies would make it difficult for policy makers to understand the kind of objections they may encounter in the policy implementation phase, thereby depriving them of their ability to plan for them. Particularly, large companies cannot afford to miss this strategy because they would fail to understand their customer requirements. Particularly, large multinationals or global companies that provide sensitive products or services should pay close attention to this strategy to develop a sound customer map because the failure to do so could lead to serious service delivery issues (Lavertu & Moynihan 2013a). These findings are useful in the risk management process because they would help policy planners to understand what to expect when implementing new policies.
Understanding human behavior is at the centre of this process because human beings and their actions could either impede the policy-making process, or support it. In this regard, the customer-centric approach is more reliable in the policy implementation process. Additionally, the customer mapping process would allow companies to point out which aspects of their operations are causing unnecessary delays and exclude them from their processes for the betterment of their customer relationships. Removing these impediments to the delivery of services or products would not only make the organizations more efficient, but more cost-effective as well in achieving their goals (Lavertu & Moynihan 2013a; Greasley & Hanretty 2016).
Having an efficient customer-mapping tool could equip companies with the skills of encouraging their customers to recommend their products or services to other people. Policy makers and their implementation teams can get better at understanding human behavior by investigating past behavioral patterns because as new research shows, human beings are often creatures of habit. In this regard, it would be useful for them to investigate past behavior to understand how they could exploit them for the benefit of improving the policy formulation and implementation processes. The findings of this paper are also useful in risk management processes because they would help policy makers to understand the kinds of objections or support they could encounter. In this regard, they could plan accordingly.
Linking Staff Appraisal to Organizational Performance
Linking employee appraisal to organizational performance could be a critical part of the evaluation culture. However, this evaluation culture should be action-oriented because the quest of the policy makers should always be to find solutions to pressing implementation problems (Murray 2014). At the same time, the evaluation culture should profess a teaching-oriented value in the sense that there should be a unity of formal evaluation through all cadres of the implementation team. Such evaluations should also not be limited to one individual or department in the organization because, as mentioned in earlier sections of this paper, the process should involve all stakeholders. The findings of this analysis could be useful in understanding the values to uphold in the policy implementation process because some government agencies often lack the direction to follow when undertaking this task.
Although it is important to evaluate policies and laws, it may not be practical to evaluate all of them because of their subjective nature. Indeed, as Moldogaziev & Resh (2016) observe, it is difficult to measure subjectivity because of the failure of a reliable index to do so. Additionally, some policies may not have an immediate impact that we could all observe. In other words, their impact could be felt in the long-term. Therefore, it would be difficult to holistically evaluate them because of time-frame limitations. Nonetheless, investigating what experts are saying about future communication strategies could also be a pointer in understanding how future strategies could be received (Greasley & Hanretty 2016).
However, this approach is not ideal because some of the information conveyed by the experts cannot be relied upon. Instead, we could use public platforms of engagement, or debate, where leaders initiative conversations surrounding a specific policy topic. Through spontaneous group discussions, policy makers could get the views of the public in any given policy area and incorporate the same in the process of policymaking. This type of format for engaging the public in the policy-making process is closely related to deliberative dialogue, which is often designed to get the best views regarding the policy making process (Effiong 2013).
For example, in the area of governance, the deliberative dialogue should seek to get the views of security experts, political scientists and the likes. Their input will add a professional touch to the policy-making process (Effiong 2013). Information could also be obtained using social media tools. However, this type of platform is often prone to abuse. Therefore, it should be consistently checked and monitored to make sure that only the useful views are included in the policy-making process. These findings are useful in understanding how to develop policy evaluation guidelines.
Comparatively, as explained by Moldogaziev and Resh (2016), evaluations are often easier done when they are simple because everyone could understand them. Based on the importance of communicating with internal and external stakeholders involved in the policy-making process, De Sardan and Ridde (2015) say the failure to engage stakeholders in the evaluation process could be disastrous for policy makers because there are several inherent risks attached to not doing so. For example, there is a high probability that community members would not cooperate with policymakers when they are not engaged in the policy evaluation process. Consequently, policymakers are likely to experience resistance to what they are doing, regardless of whether they have noble intentions, or not. However, organizations need to avail financial resources and the expertise needed to teach staff about evaluation if such processes are to be successful.
The policy implementation phase is among the most difficult ones after engaging stakeholders and evaluating their performance. There are different problems associated with the process, including the failure to have a team that understands the policies, using over-ambitious time-scales, poor project management, inadequate planning, and the failure to designate clear roles and objectives of each member of the implementation team. Consulting with professionals and understanding some of the political challenges that may impede the policy implementation process would ensure realistic targets are developed. Based on this need, I would say the best evaluation techniques are participatory because stakeholder engagement is a key part of the process.
To realize maximum stakeholder engagement, it important to work only with stakeholders that have a proven record of accomplishment in delivering what is expected of them, or those who have the capacity to do so. To make sure they meet agreed targets, it is also important to sign a performance contract with them that specifies the timelines of policy implementation. This document would be legally binding and would peg rewards to the realization of implementation targets. Such agreements have been used in several cases where government departments have tried to manage the performance of their employees, with relative success (Ingold & Leifeld 2016).
Its implementation in the policy environment is bound to be problematic because the success of the process partly depends on the sheer goodwill of the stakeholders, but it would be a start in specifying the kind of targets that are expected of each stakeholder, or partner. Another strategy of making sure that the stakeholders meet the required expectations and agreed targets is providing them with adequate resources to do so. This preposition stems from studies that have shown the willingness of some stakeholders to do their job, as is required, but the lack of resources may impede them from realizing the success they desire (Fyfe & Scott 2013). These findings are important in fostering engagement among stakeholders.
Lastly, I believe that the findings of policy evaluations should be used to suggest actions, as opposed to taking actions because a finding is a mere indication of an outcome and not necessarily a factor influencing the same. For example, in this paper, we have recommended that communications should be redesigned to fit the digital communication platform.
Indeed, based on the changes that the digital revolution brings to policy development, the process of designing messages to suit this platform and meet their intended objectives should be a top requirement in policy implementation because it is the only way of making sure that the messages conveyed reach their intended audiences and achieve the required goals. To get the information to include in these messages, policy makers could use focus groups. Nonetheless, focus groups are not only easy to work with, but also effective in getting the views of a large number of people because from a small sample of respondents, policymakers could understand the cultural views and norms that they need to consider in the communication plan. These findings are useful in policy implementation.
Comprehensively, based on the findings we present in this report, it is important to point out that laws are not static and neither is the process of making them. Laws should respond to different situations and issues, failure to which they would be deemed irrelevant. These findings are instrumental to our understanding of the need to foresee the regulatory framework and understand how it needs to change to appeal or address to current social, economic and political situations. While the process of law making is central to the change management process, it is critical to point out that there are limitations to law making because the process should not contravene any judicial limitation or international obligation that countries have in reference to the same. Generally, the findings of this paper are useful in creating a seamless policy formulation and implementation guideline that would work in both the private and public sector.
Generally, based on the findings highlighted in this paper, we find that many facts about policy and law implementation and formulation could be borrowed from other disciplines such as business and military strategic development. For example, we could draw comparisons between teamwork in business and stakeholder engagement in policy implementation. As highlighted in some sections of this paper, stakeholders are critical in the implementation of policies and laws. Involving their input in the communication process is similarly an important process in getting their support.
To do so, it is important to undertake a stakeholder mapping process because it has tremendous value in this regard. In this paper, we also find that the internationalization of law is beneficial for parties that ascribe to international legal agreements because they would easily implement or enforce their laws outside their borders through jurisdictional cooperation. However, the global space is complex because of the multiplicity of different interests from global players. Therefore, it is important for leaders to demonstrate good leadership acumen, hinged on the execution of well thought out policy implementation strategies.
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