Processes of Policy Making

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Process refers to the way in which policies are initiated, developed or formulated, negotiated, communicated, implemented and evaluated. The most common approach to understanding policy processes is to use what is called the 'strages heuristic' (Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith 1993).
What this means is breaking down the policy process into a series of stages but acknowledging that this is a theoretical device, a model and does not necessarily represent exactly what happens in the real world.
It is nevertheless, helpful to think of policy making occurring in these different stages: Problem identification and issue recognition : explores ho issues get on to the policy agenda, why some issues do not even get discussed. Policy formulation : explores who is involved in formulating policy, how policies are arrived at, agreed upon, and how they are communicated The role of policy making in government is covered and that of interest groups. Policy implementation : this is often the most neglected phase of policy making and is sometimes seen as quite divorced from the first two stages.
However, this is arguably the most important phase of policy making because if policies are not implemented, or are diverted or changed at implementation, then presumably something is going wrong - and the policy outcomes will not be those which were sought.
Policy evaluation : identifies what happens once a policy is put into effect - how it is monitored, whether it achieves its objectives and whether it has unintended consequences. This may be the stage at which policies are changed or terminated and new policies introduced.

Reference :
Buse,K., Mays,N.,Walt,G.,2005, Making Health Policy, Open University Press

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