By: Dr. Idumange John
Let me thank the Honourable Commissioner for Information and Orientation and his formidable team for putting together this workshop. It is an opportunity to build our capacities to be more effective and efficient on the job. The Honourable Daniel Iworiso-Markson assumed office only about three weeks ago and in line with the policy thrust of the Restoration Administration, he has today demonstrated one of the priority objectives of the administration – that of human capacity building. Just as a good pilot must have a compass to direct him/her to a safe destination, policies and programmes are the drivers of good governance. Recognizing that this is an in-house workshop/training, I have stripped this paper bare of all scholarly gravity, believing that it is a mere in-house conversation.
The overriding goal of any government is to seek the welfare and happiness of her citizens. This explains why democratic countries all over the world seek a transparent, accountable, participatory and effective government anchored on the rule of law. Good governance, howsoever it is understood, within the context of democratic rule is driven by policies and programmes. It is the implementation of good policies and programmes that creates development or lack of it. The Asia Dragons took a quantum leap from Third World to first World because they implemented good policies.
A policy is a statement of intent, which is implemented as a procedure or protocol. A policy is a document that outlines what a government is going to do and what it can achieve for the society as a whole. Public policy a system of laws, regulatory measures, courses of action, and funding priorities concerning a given problem in society. Public policy is an attempt by government to address a public issue by instituting laws, regulations, decisions, or actions pertinent to the problem at hand.
One crucial difference between policies and programmes is that programmes are short-term interventions that create temporary solutions to a given problem while policies covenants we collectively choose to live by, as articulated in legislation and regulation. Again a project as a temporary undertaking to create a unique product or service. A project has a defined start and end point and specific objectives, which when achieved brings the project to a completion stage. A programme, implies a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing the projects individually. A programme may also include elements of on-going, operational work. So, a programme comprises multiple projects and is created to obtain broad organizational or technical objectives. There are many differences between a project and a programme including scope, benefits realization, time, and other variables.
Policies are generally adopted by a governance body within an organization. They may be subjective and objective decision making. Policies to assist in subjective decision making usually assist senior management with decisions that must be based on the relative merits of a number of factors, and as a result are often hard to test objectively, e.g. work-life balance policy. In contrast policies to assist in objective decision-making are usually operational in nature and can be objectively tested. They are called password policies.
A project by definition has a beginning and an end (or at least one hopes so certain programmes, while having a beginning may not have an end. A classic example of one of these types of programmes is an annual construction programme.
PROJECT > PROGREMME > POLICY POLICY
A project is a temporary entity established to deliver specific (often tangible) outputs in line with predefined time, cost and quality constraints. A project should always be defined and executed and evaluated relative to an (Executive) approved business case which balances the costs, benefits and risks of the project. The project business case should be managed under change control. Projects yielded tangible outcomes whereas programmes do not.
There are more stakeholders in carrying out programmes than projects. Projects have a starting point and an end point but that may not be the case with programmes. Whereas the implementation of programmes may be fluid. Projects yield short term dividends and such dividends are measurable. This may not be the case with programmes.
Public policy making refers to the process of making important organizational decisions, including the identification of different alternatives such as programmes and choosing among them on the basis of expected outcomes. Policies can be understood as political, managerial, financial, and administrative mechanisms arranged to reach explicit goals
The Conceptual framework of this paper is anchored on the Pareto Principle. More generally, the Pareto Principle is the observation that most things in life are not distributed evenly. It can mean all of the following things: The Pareto principle is named after economist VILFREDO PARETO, which specifies an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. The principle states that 20% of the invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. Put another way, 80% of consequences stem from 20% of the causes; this is also referred to as the “Pareto rule” or the “80/20 rule.” This principle serves as a general reminder that the relationship between inputs and outputs is not balanced. For instance, the efforts of 20% of a government could yield 80% of the results. In terms of personal time management, 80% of your work-related output could come from only 20% of your time at work. In Pareto’s case, he used the rule to explain how 80% of the wealth is controlled by 20% of the country’s population.
▪20% of the input creates 80% of the result
▪20% of the workers produce 80% of the result
▪20% of the customers create 80% of the revenue
▪20% of people take part in policy formulation, which yields 80% of the outcomes.
▪20% of policies lead to 80% of unintended consequences, leading to policy failure.
For a top Civil Servant, all you need to do is to identify the critical 20% to work with. The 20% becomes your think tank while the whole Organization is aware of the policies that are being implemented. After all, too many cooks spoil the broth.
CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD POLICIES
Good policies have certain characteristics. Some of them include:
Assumptions are clear and explicit.
▪ There is linkage to organizational direction.
Due process in the development stage has been observed.
▪Stakeholders have been included in the development.
▪Public interest has been given a high priority.
Organizational expectations have been met.
▪The policy is likely to be both efficient and effective.
▪ Outcomes are stated in measurable terms.
▪ There is a capacity to evaluate outcomes.
▪It has been appropriately funded with resource.
▪There is clear accountability.
▪It follows all appropriate laws.
▪ It is enforceable.
▪It is historically informed.
Ideas have been tested prior to implementation.
There are many policy making models: Incremental; Group Theory; Elite Model, Market Exchange Model, and the rational model. This is not the thrust of our discussion. . These models do not need elaboration.
TYPES OF POLICIES:
Public policies can be categorized into six or more Typologies. Some of them are discussed below:
a) Constituent policy: A constituent policy is connected mainly to development of new departments, internal distribution of funds and rules for public servants. That is why, such a policy is either structural or procedural.
b) Distributive policy: This policy enables government to provide public goods such as hospitals, schools, roads, transport, public buildings services, to all in the nation with the help of public fund. In Bayelsa State, the provision of Boarding Schools and General Hospitals is a good example. Distributive policy does not create competition for the goods and services since they are owned by the government.
3. Regulatory Policy: Regulatory policies prescribe do’s and don’ts for different groups to prevent individuals from becoming their victims. It tends to create losers and winners by allowing one group to enjoy more freedom than the other. Although regulatory policies tend to garner a lot of criticisms, they do compel certain groups to behave and maintain qualities. In Bayelsa State, any child hawking pure water and other goods will be arrested. This policy is to encourage increased school enrolment and curb child labour. Another is prohibition of drunk driving: This is done to keep roads free of fatal accidents
4. Redistributive policy: Here, benefits are transferred from to another to eradicate social issues such as poverty for the sake of equality. Redistributive policies have been used many times to favor the rich over the poor. Sometimes the policy does not have much to do with allocation of finance. That is why redistributive policies have always been most controversial. Pay As You Earn, PAYE seeks to take more money from the rich to provide social amenities for the poor. The Education Development Trust Fund is another example. It is the most controversial Policy
5. Substantive Public Policy: These are the policies concerned with the general welfare and development of the society like provision of education and employment opportunities, economic stabilization and enforcement of “No Work No Pay” among others. It does not cater for any particular segment of society but formulated in accordance with the Constitution to maintain stability.
6.) Capitalisation Public Policy – These policies are related to financial subsidies given by the State to business undertakings. It is not directly linked to public welfare but it does contributes but indirectly to public welfare. It is basically infrastructural and development policies for government to maintain optimal level of functionality.
THE PUBLIC POLICY CYCLE
A cycle divides the policy making process into a series of stages, from a notional starting point at which policymakers begin to think about a policy problem to a notional end point at which a policy has been implemented and policymakers think about how successful it has been before deciding what to do next. The image is of a continuous process rather than a single event.
1. Identification of problems: Policies emanate from the problems of society and policies arej predicated on those problems. Identifying a problem is critical because it will dictate the type of policy that will address.
2. Agenda-setting: Having identified the problem there is a need to call government attention and that of stakeholders to the problem. The ‘Agenda-Setting’ stage can include leaders of thought, lobbyists and other influential citizens, all of whom may be private citizens. It involves state and non-state actors. Agenda setters may also be involved in consultation to obtain refined ideas and informed opinions. Generally, many policy decisions are initiated, supported, or influenced by the public servant. The support of public servants is necessary for the smooth implementation of the policies.
3. Policy formulation: Setting objectives, identifying the cost and estimating the effect of solutions, choosing from a list of solutions and selecting policy instruments.
4. Legitimation. Ensuring that the chosen policy instruments have support. It can involve one or a combination of: legislative approval, executive approval, seeking consent through consultation with interest groups, and referenda.
5. Implementation. Establishing or employing an organization to take responsibility for implementation, ensuring that the organization has the resources (such as staffing, money and legal authority) to do so, and making sure that policy decisions are carried out as planned. Implementation goes with budgeting.
6. Evaluation. Assessing the extent to which the policy was successful or the policy decision was the correct one; if it was implemented correctly and, if so, had the desired effect. Evaluation is necessary to identify policy gaps.
7. Policy maintenance, succession or termination. Here, decision is taken if the policy should be continued, modified or discontinued.
THE POLICY PROCESS LIFE CYCLE
(Adopted by the Bayelsa State Directorate of Policy & Programmes 2017)
The cycle is simple and understandable. It can be applied to all political systems. The emphasis on cycles highlights the fluidity of policymaking. There is also a wide range of important studies based on the analysis of particular stages – such as the top-down versus bottom-up approaches to the study of policymaking. In the words of David Hackworth “If a policy is wrongheaded feckless and corrupt I take it personally and consider it a moral obligation to sound off and not shut up until it’s fixed.” Indeed Makinde (2005) observed that in Nigerian there are usually no comprehensive policy standards and procedure” (p.63).
A DISCUSSION OF SOME OF THE POLICIES OF THE RESTORATION ADMINISTRATION
1. State of Emergency in Education ( to address the educational disadvantages)
2. The Problem of Insecurity – Operation Doo Akpo (to address the problem of insecurity in the State).
3. The Child Rights (Act) domesticated Governor Seriake Dickson said “I am delighted that the new Child Rights Law will offer protection for children in Bayelsa State”, “It stresses that anyone caught violating the rights of children will be prosecuted according to the provisions of this new law”. This law was domesticated following the alleged kidnap of a teenager Ese Oruru to a State in Northern Nigeria.
▪Building of institutions for the physically challenged in Opolo among many other initiatives. ▪Friday Konyefa Foundation’s intervention in training 220 female children
▪ Implementation of Free Education
4. The Foreign Scholarship Scheme
5. Anti-Cultism Law ( imprisonment for 10 years)
6. Integrated Security Management System
7. Boarding School System
8. Clock-in System ( Work Ethics) to change attitude to work
9. Bayelsa State Motorcycles Operations (Prohibition) Bill, 2012 (August 15th, 2015
10. 10.Bayelsa State Salary Fraud And Related Offences (Prohibition) Bill, 2012 (August 15th, 2015
11. Bayelsa State Symbols And Songs Bill, 2012 (Flag and Coat of Arm)
12. Bayelsa State Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2012: Transparency Briefing
13. Izon-Ibe Microfinance Bank ( Promote SME’s)
14. Bayelsa State Universal Basic Education Board (Amendment) Law, 2012
15. Bayelsa State Emergency Agency Bill, 2012 ( The Great Flood)
16. Boarding School and Feeding of Students:
ROLE OF THE CIVIL SERVICE IN POLICY IMPLEMENTATION
The requirements of the civil service are that it shall be impartially selected, administratively competent, politically neutral and imbued with the spirit of service to the community”. –Gladden
The Civil Service is characterized by:
2. Hierarchical Structure
3. Rules and Regulations
6. Formalistic Impersonality 7.
8. Division of labour/work
9. Career system
Simply put, Civil Service is the permanent executive, clearly distinguished from political executive. Whereas the political executive is the minister, the elected one; the permanent executive is the administrator, the selected and appointed one. Civil servant is the one who provides expert advice in policy formulation owing to his expertise and competence, and in turn implement as well.
The role of the Civil Service in the policy making process include:
1. Offer professional advice to the political class on policy making
2. Implement the policies of Government in the best interest of the people and in accordance with the Public Service Rules.
3. To stay away from politics thereby assert its neutrality
4. Insist that the right thing should be done. This can be done without prejudice to partisan politics.
5. Head Committees and interpret Memo’s
6. Analyse the success index of policies before they are implemented.
OBSTACLES TO POLICY IMPLEMENTATION:
Failure to undertake PEST and SWOT analysis ( Political, Environmental, Social and Technological factors) Strength Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
▪ Lack of accurate Data/Statistics for planning
▪Lack of adequate funding or under-budgeting
▪ Politicization of policy implementation
▪ Plan Indiscipline
▪Lack of Stakeholder’s Buy-in
▪ Bureaucracy —This is caused by Civil/Public Servants
▪ Non-inclusivity of critical Stakeholders in Planning
▪ Defective Agenda Setting and lack of Consensus
▪ Not carrying out Cost-Benefit Analysis
▪Over-ambitious and unrealizable policy goals:
Political will: Political will should be the factor to government formulation strategies. Political will means support for a policy by top government functionaries. This is because government sometimes formulates policy but lack the political social and economic will to implement it.
Needs of the people: In formulating a policy, the policy formulators require a good and thorough understanding of the local needs and problems of the people. Emphases should be given so the needs of the people, their capacities and total commitment programs.
Stakeholders: In policy formulation, stakeholder must first be identified by taking more account the interest of the stakeholders. Government policy depend on the agencies of government for support and government should show position attitude to the policy by ensuring adequate measure to empower the stakeholder, civil society and other interested parties with the required prerequisite information on the policy for their benefits.
▪Specific target group: One could say that no single government policy plan is sufficient to meet the needs of the people. It is often better to target specific groups for a better policy implementation.
▪Use of Experts to formulate Policies: This will reduce the policy failure index.
▪Periodic capacity building of Civil Servants who are charged with the responsibility of implementing policies.
▪Policy formulation and implementation should be thought as a refresher course for the top echelon of the bureaucracy.
▪Policies should be all-inclusive and policy outcomes measured. Certain policies should be pilot tested before they are implemented on a state-wide basis.
There are at least four ways in which globalization is affecting the policy formulation in each country.
Firstly, thanks to social and electronic media, small issues which a decade or so ago could only find place in the back page of a national newspaper become breaking news in major global channels creating advocacy and sympathy movements in different parts of the world.
Secondly, with the rapidly globalizing world, global issues like environmental degradation, climate change, and other issues which were only discussed in the corridors of power are being debated in the drawing rooms of countries and creating strong advocacy movements among the population.
Thirdly, centres of actual power and decision making are shifting from local to global level with the outreach of domestic interest groups to their sympathizers in international organizations, multinational corporations and those in the governments of global powers. Lastly, non-state actors are increasingly penetrating those domains which were the exclusively reserved for the domestic state machinery. There is a preponderant influence of nongovernmental actors in the formulation of domestic policies…” The implication is that most of the domestic policies we formulate are benchmarked by international organizations, to which we are signatories.
Let it be known that Public policy is a study in imperfection. It involves imperfect people, with imperfect information, facing deeply imperfect choices – so it’s not surprising that they’re getting imperfect results.
You have been indulgent and I thank you.
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Policy Making: Crux of the Matter
“In Bayelsa State, the challenge of policy making is very conspicuous at the agenda-setting phase. When Government identifies a problem, many stakeholders and the critical segment affected by the problem are expected my engage government constructively with a view to adding value to the policy. These stakeholders may be private individuals, technocrats, professionals, lobbyists, opinion influencers, community leaders, state and non-state actors among others. Agenda setting involves consultation with the critical people to obtain refined ideas, elicit informed opinions, to contribute positively, to fine-tune the policy, adding fresh perspectives that will enrich the policy, and suggesting a viable mechanism for implementation and evaluation.
What has gained currency in Bayelsa State is the over-politicization of policies, emphasis on the negatives instead of the positives, the emergence of armchair critics who mostly take to the social media without facts. They are quick to reach conclusions without consultation. In policy debates the listen to only themselves, they are Olympian in their judgements because they believe their viewpoints are superior and they often commit fallacies of over generalization. In some cases, primordial sentiments take the front-burner instead of the merits of the policy and its long term benefits. The agenda setting phase is also mismanaged by sectionalism interest. For example if a University is built in Bayelsa State, instead of emphasizing the importance of the University in manpower development, critics will discuss why the institution is sited there, and justify why the University should have been sited elsewhere. Most people chase shadows instead of the substance. This factor results in policy discontinuity”…John Idumange