Political Interactions Congress, the President, the Cabinet, advisers, agency bureaucrats, federal and state courts, political parties, interest groups, the media All of these groups interact to make political decisions in the United States. Public policy is a goal-oriented course of action that the government follows in dealing with a problem or issue in the country.
Policy-Making Process Policy-Making Process Public policies are developed by officials within institutions of government to address public issues through the political process. When it comes to creating public policy, policymakers are faced with two distinct situations.
The first situation, and the ideal one, is for policymakers to jointly identify a desirable future condition, and then create policies and take actions to move toward that desired future state, monitoring progress to allow for necessary adjustments.
The alternative, and less desirable, situation occurs when policymakers are unable to reach a consensus regarding a desirable future condition. In this later instance, policymakers try instead to move away from present situations judged as undesirable, even though no consensus exists about the preferred alternative.
Aspects of Policy-Making The context for the public policy-making process in the United States reflects several important aspects, which are highlighted in the following paragraphs.
Public policymakers evaluate complex aspects of water planning and management, then derive courses of action that attempt to balance competing interests. A hand vote can be a simple way to gage the degree of consensus. Ideally, policymakers are guided by core principles. Politicians and public servants are accountable to the public.
Elitesin politics and the private sector, do not have the right to pursue their interests without constraints. Government bureaucratic and decision processes must be open, accessible, and transparentas well as being responsive to public concerns. Individuals and communities affected by projects have the right to information regarding proposed developments; the right to challenge the need for, and the design of, projects; and the right to be involved in planning and decision-making processes.
In addition to the guidance and associated constraints placed on policymakers, demands from the general public, or "bottom up" initiatives, can be as influential as "top down" directives. The general public is reasonably educated and informed, and can mobilize to demand and support desired initiatives.
Powerful special interest groups can and do apply significant pressure on elected officials and public servants in order to achieve their ends, regardless of the public welfare. A special interest group is an organized group that exists primarily to advance its own specific interests.
For example, a Chamber of Commerce usually advocates for interests of business, whereas the Sierra Club normally represents the views of people interested in the environment.
Elites sometimes use questionable means in order to achieve their ends, and such influence is often exerted "behind closed doors. Public policy issues normally are complex, occur in rapidly changing and turbulent environments characterized by uncertainty, and involve conflicts among different interests.
Thus, those responsible for creating, implementing, and enforcing policies must be able to reach decisions about ill-defined problem situations that usually are not well understood, have no one correct answer, and involve many competing interests.
Different Roles of Scientists and Policymakers Given the above characteristics of the policy-making process, the needs of policymakers and scientists often are different. Policymakers usually focus on the short-term commonly, the time until the next electionand on actions that will have tangible results and outcomes while minimizing risk.
In contrast, scientists are interested in the long-term, in deferring action until understanding has been gained, and in recognizing the nature, extent, and magnitude of uncertainty. Thus, the policymaker normally is interested in the simple rather than the complex, the concrete rather than the abstract, and the immediate rather than a distant result.
Policymakers also understand that sometimes conditions will be favorable for a decision or action, even if a technical understanding of the issue is incomplete.
Waiting for more data, analysis, and interpretation may result in policymakers losing an opportune moment. The personal characteristics of policymakers and scientists also are often different.
The best policymakers are prepared and able to synthesize diverse information, move forward through acts of faith, make major leaps forward into the unknown, and effectively make prodigious bets.
In contrast, scientists are taught to be conservative and cautious, and to doubt results and conclusions until evidence and analysis support them. However, policymakers usually do not want qualified statements from scientific advisors. Instead, they want simple and clear answers.
The Disadvantage of Scientific Uncertainty.The steps involved in policy making process include problem identification, agenda setting, policy formulation, budgeting, implementing and evaluation. A breakdown in any of these steps may end up compromising the quality of results achieved.
Policy-making is the making of policies. The Central Committee is the party's policymaking body. He will play a key background role in government policy-making. Policy can: Be broad and visionary. Set direction. Express standards, behaviours, and expectations to guide actions.
Be a concept or stated position of intended outcomes. Be a statement of principle. Policies are distinct from procedures and guidelines, which are operational instructions or processes for applying a policy decision.
Decision-making, then, is a continuous process with numerous people participating. At any given time, government is at various stages of policy-making in a never-ending quest to provide solutions to countless societal problems.
Policy Implementation Policy implementation includes all the activities that result from the official adoption of a policy. Policy implementation is what happens after a law is passed.
We should never assume that the passage of a law is the end of the policymaking process. A policy established and carried out by the government goes through several stages from inception to conclusion.
These are agenda building, formulation, adoption, implementation, evaluation, and .