FACULTY OF EDUCATION
CENTRE SECURITY STUDIES
TO : MR G. MHANGO
FROM : BSS/33/16
COURSE TITLE : PUBLIC POLICY
COURSE CODE : SSPP 4704
ASSIGNMENT NUMBER : ONE
TASKk vcfgfvggffffffff : BASED ON THOROUGH RESEARCH, EXPLAIN THE MEANING OF PUBLIC POLICY.
DUE DATE : FRIDAY 24TH NOVEMBER, 2017.
In every form of government policies, have been formulated and implemented. Governments create these policies to cope up with the diverse troubles and needs of the people in the country. In their day to day activities, people are directly and indirectly affected, by an extensive range of public policies which are universal in this contemporary and complex societies. Public policies brings pleasure, pain, as well as collectively important outcomes for people’s well-being and happiness since they consist of an important portion of people’s environment. Therefore, it is of great importance to know the meaning of public policy.
To begin with the word policy according to Anderson (2015), refers to the ‘purposive course of action which a person or group consistently observes in dealing with matters of public concern’. In both public as well as private sector, policies are regarded as instruments through which societies control themselves in an attempt to direct human behaviour in acceptable directions. Although other scholars define policy in this way, there is no agreed definition of public policy in the contemporary world. However, despite the diverse perception of public policy, other researchers have attempted to describe public policy in different angles. Friedrich (1976) defines public policy as a planned course of action of an individual, group, as well as government in a given environment providing chances and obstacles on which the policy was planned to use and overcome in an attempt to reach a goal or an objective. Similarly, Rose, (1976).defines public policy as ‘government’s plan of action to give an effect to particular normative as well as empirical goals in an effort to deal with apparent grievances of the society in a specific way and attain preferred changes in that society’. Despite the presence of these diverse perceptions, public policy is perceived to be a problem solving activity of the government in order to meet the needs of the society.
Based on the understanding of public policy, it clearly shows that public policies are government choices, and that they are essentially the outcome of actions which government carries out in order to achieve specific goals as well as objectives as expressed by Dunn, (2009). On the other hand, public policy formulation as well as implementation encompasses a well-planned form of activity as it needs a systematic close knit relation as well as collaboration flanked by the significant governmental departments such as executive, legislature, bureaucracy, as well as judiciary. For instance policy making process may involve some main features which include definition of the problem to be addressed, objectives which the policy intends to attain, as well as the tools which are used to deal with the problem and achieve the policy objectives (Dunn, 2009).
Public policy according to Jenkins (1978), is also defined as a ‘set of inter-related choices taken by the political actor or even group of actors regarding the choice of goals as well as the ways of achieving these goals in a stated situation where those choices should, in principle, be in the power of those actors’. This entails that public policies are purpose oriented because they are framed and implemented for the purpose of achieving specific goals which the government wants for the sole benefit of the general public. These policies clearly explain programmes of government. In general, public policy aims at attaining a specific objective which is taken to be most important for all members of society. For instance, government may formulate and implement policies of access to safe water, good health, as well as educational attainment, to its citizens.
Gerston (2010), defines public policy as a principled guideline to an act pursued by the administrative as well as executive branches of the government with consideration of the class of issues, in a way consistent with the law as well as organisational customs. This entails that public policy is what the state really plans or wants to do. It is the connection of the government components to the specific area of political arena in a specific administrative system such that this can take a variety of shapes such as law, court decisions as well as executive orders (Gerston, 2010).
Consequently, public policy is said to be comprehensive direction or perspective which the state places with the aim of making decisions (Dye, 2012). Every institution as well as an individual is ordered to make a choice in a policy framework which may be a short time action or not. Policy is made up of several decisions which are pursued to fulfil specific objectives. Dye, (2012) further stipulates that public policy is made up of a sequence of choices tied together into a coherent whole. However, there can be differences in the procedures involved in decision as well as policy making but both are focusing on choice in the middle of alternatives and for both similar processes can be taken in making these alternatives.
Nevertheless, Dye (1972) also defines public policy as everything that state chooses to do or not to do. As this is not enough other policy scholars also argue that public policy is best understood as a process (Jenkins, 1978). Such being the case, Anderson (2003), introduced a model of the policy process which has been very fruitful as a primary outline in the arena of public policy studies as well as becoming an introductory point for variety of typologies of the public policy process. Public policy making is deemed not only a practical action of the state but fairly a diverse communicating process credited by the different nature of socio-political as well as other environmental forces.
Furthermore, according to Brooks (1989), public policy is defined as the comprehensive framework of thoughts as well as values in which choices are taken and action is followed by states in connection to other issues or problems. In support of this, Cochran and Malone (2014), argue that Public policy may be explained as the total framework in which state actions are pursued to achieve public goals. This shows that policies are reasoned courses of action formulated in reaction to an apparent problem and they are clarified through a specific policy process which include adoption, implementation, regulatory measures, courses of state action, funding priorities, as well as enforcement by a public organization (Cochran and Malone, 2014). These policies provides direction to regimes over a variety of actions as well as giving shared liability links between the state and the citizens. They are mostly shaped by individuals and groups through combination of interest groups, advocacy education, as well as political lobbying.
From this discussion on the meaning of public policy, it is clear that public policies are state decisions, which are mainly the result of activities taken by the government in order to achieve particular objectives and goals. Such being the case, formulation as well as implementation of public policies consists of a well-planned pattern of activity in order to achieve the intended goals.
Anderson, J. E. (2003), Public policymaking: An introduction. Boston: Houghton.
Cochran, C. L ; Malone E. F (2014), Public Policy, perspectives and choice, 5th Ed. Lynne Rienner: USA.
Dye, T. R., (1972), Understanding Public Policy, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs: New Jersey.
Friedrich C.J. (1976), Policy Making, Structures and Processes, Niilm University.
Hill, M. (2005), Public Policy Process, Pearson: Longman.
Hill, M. (2009), The Public Policy Process, Harlow: Longman.
Dunn W.N (2009), Public Policy Analysis: An Introduction, Harlow: Pearson Longman.
Dye T.R. (2012), Understanding Public Policy, Harlow: Pearson Longman.
Gerston L.N. (2010), Public Policy Making: Process and Principles, New York: M.E Sharpe.
Geyer, R. ; Rihani, S. (2010), Complexity and Public Policy: A New Approach to 21st Century Politics, Policy and Society, Routledge: London.
Rose R. (1976), The Dynamics of Public Policy, Sage Publications Ltd: London.
Kraft, M. E ; Furlong, S. R (2015), Public Policy Politics, Analysis and Alternatives, SAGE: USA.