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Policy process

The public financial management cycle begins with planning and budgeting. A transparent and consultative policy-making process should inform these activities. This page, which forms part of the Governance Theme section on 'public financial management and accountability', includes a series of key texts that explore this concept.

Key texts

Strategic Policy Making Team, Cabinet Office, 1999, 'Professional policy making for the twenty-first century', British Cabinet Office, London.
This report by the Strategic Policy Making Team of the British Cabinet Office examines what professional 'modernised' policy making should look like. It also suggests possible levers for change to help bring about the objectives of the UK Government's white paper on policy-making.
Full document available online

Crosby, B. 1996, 'Policy Implementation: The Organisational Challenge,' World Development, volume 24, no. 9, pp1403-1415.
This article analyses the nature and organisation of policy implementation. It uses case studies from the Implementing Policy Change Project that assisted in several innovative responses to the organisational challenges of policy implementation in Bolivia, Philippines, Guinea-Bissau and Uganda.
Full document available through: BLDS document delivery service. Please access full summary and then click on the link for "BLDS Document Delivery Service".

Manning, N., Barma, N., Blondel, J. & Wright, V. 1999, 'Strategic decisionmaking in cabinet government: institutional underpinnings and obstacles', The World Bank Sector Studies Series no. 19935, The World Bank, Washington D.C.
This World Bank article examines the cabinet system as a means of ensuring consistent policy making. It defines cabinets and cabinet-like governments and the roles of cabinet and cabinet committee meetings. It also identifies the ways in which a cabinet system can address the common set of risks faced by governments.
Full document available online

Oxford Policy Management 1999, Prioritisation and Fiscal Responsibility: How To Involve Politicians in Expenditure Management, Oxford Policy Management.
This Issue Paper summarises the different approaches for fiscal discipline that have been used in OECD countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States and explores the extent to which similar institutional controls and incentives could be established in developing countries. It focuses on governance or constitutional frameworks rather than ongoing political decision-making which takes place within these frameworks.
Full document available online

Centre for Management and Policy Studies (CMPS), 2001, 'Better policy making', CMPS, London.
In November 2000 the Centre for Management and Policy Studies undertook a survey to identify new, innovative and professional approaches to policy-making, and find out from policy-makers what they considered to be the main issues in modernising the policy-making process. This report, primarily aimed at policy- makers, claims to be the most comprehensive survey of modern policy-making, and includes both a thematic discussion and a series of case-studies from the UK civil service.
Full document available online via 'publications' and then 'reports'

UK National Audit Office, 2001, 'Modern policy making: Ensuring policies deliver value for money', NAO, London.
This report identifies good practice in policy design and implementation by drawing on selected case studies and examples of good practice from departments, local authorities, and the private and voluntary sectors.
Full document available online
(full document summary available shortly)

Keeley, J., 2001, 'Influencing policy processes for sustainable livelihoods: Strategies for change', DFID, London.
This paper from the Institute of Development Studies explores new approaches to understanding policy processes, drawing on case studies from sub-Saharan Africa and Bangladesh. When policy processes are seen as non-linear, political and haphazard, new factors need to be taken into account. In identifying these factors, policy processes can be influenced more effectively.
Full document available online

Sutton, R., 1999, 'The policy process: An overview', ODI Working Paper 118.
This ODI Working Paper provides a succinct introduction to the policy process. Firstly, the dominant linear model of policy making is outlined, before the principles of policy process models across disciplines are discussed. Five cross-cutting themes are then reviewed: the dichotomy between policy-making and implementation; the management of change; the role of interest groups in the policy process; and the narrowing of policy alternatives.
Full document available online

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