Governments across the globe are facing multitudes of problem. Such problems are noticed through political matters, economic status, social, environmental factors, cultural as well as religious difference. Decisions to handle such difficulties are either reactive or proactive in nature. So Governments and other actors play a major role to eliminate those problems by using a unique and strong mechanism, which is called a policy (De Bruijn & ten Heuvelhof 2008). A word policy derives from a French word policie which refers to civil administration, via Latin from Greek politeia refers to citizenship,’ from polit?s which refers to citizen (Young 2013). And this assertion is going to demonstrate what public policy is all about within a global system.
Firstly, the paper will establish a tool that has been used by many Governments in all aspects of life whether economic, political, culture and environmental matters. Policy is one of the multifaceted concepts and there is no any agreed universal definition, so in its simplest refers to pathway to pursuit the desired goals within a precise setting based on decisions made whether institution or individuals. Policy acts as a bench mark to Governments when developing guidelines, procedures, standards even regulations to be used when addressing problems in the societies and issues that are of public concern for example the Malawi National HIV Policy of 2003, Malawi Decentralization Policy of 1998 and the Bush Doctrine of 2002 (Pal 2005). A policy has chains of decisions tight together into a logical order.
Secondly, this subsection aims at showing the link between the public and the policy. Being one of the contested fields as far as contemporary policy studies is concerned and developed after the World War II in 1950s and 1960s (Heinemann et al 1997). Due to the convolution there are many definitions by different scholars based on their views and interpretations. Lasswell (1958) stated that public policy refers “who gets what, when, and how”. Another scholar Dean Kilpatrick came with a different view from his book Definitions Of Public Policy And the Law defines Public Policy as ” a system of laws, regulatory measures, courses of action, and funding priorities concerning a given topic promulgated by a governmental entity or its representatives”. Dye (1972) defines public policy as “what government chooses to do or not to do”. Therefore in a nutshell public policy is a decision made by the government after an activity has been made in order to achieve a proposed goal or objectives by creating a smooth link with citizens and basically this is done by political maestros.
Additionally, the discussion will come up with the main forms in which a public policy can be demonstrated which are formal and informal policies. Egonmwan (1991) stated that formal public policy is the planned document produced by those that have legal authority, which includes legislators, the executive, the bureaucrats and the judiciary. some of them are after thoroughly discussion, reviewed, approved and also published by a body which is entitled to do so especially government institution, for example Malawi land policy. Whereas informal public policy it is a general but temporary in nature, unwritten but a practice should be accepted by individuals or an organization hence an action need to follow. This is done mostly by those people who have an influence to the government although they do not possess legal authority as far as policy making is concerned; some of them are interest groups, political parties and individual citizens (Anderson 1979).
Fourthly, this paragraph will try to present a valid link that is mostly realized between the political elites and public policy making. The political system model basically pointed at the power of political elites when they are presenting their authoritative decisions through identified government institutions in developing countries with an aim to achieve an output which is a policy (Easton 1965). The pluralism model also tries to show the link between power of politician and public policy. The model emphasizes that, the presence of battle from different groups that influence the public policy whereby the political elites have an upper hand as compared to other groups for example the passing of Malawi land bill Act in 2017 by the parliament without considering views from other groups (Schattschneider 19960). Another link is seen by the Elite model which has a view that public policy as the only way the preferences and values of the power elite. And it has been noted that when public policies are made, the elites do influence much by putting their priorities through government officials first while those that are not political elites come second.
Furthermore, public policy making process is also discussed in this paper. Policy making encompasses all the stages which are applied to deal with the problems at hand within a society at speedy pace or not. For example, to have a solution on why there is high school drop outs along lake shore area in Malawi. The primary phase is to know the problems which the government and other stakeholders need promptly action compared to other problems, either the root cause is the public or private (Dewey 1927). Policy agenda is the next step whereby decisions or possible solutions are made by policy makers to act quickly to the problem or waiting, for example United States of America government send 3000 troops to help the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa (Hoppe 1970). Policy formulation another useful stage which involves all the relevant and straight planned of action to be done for dealing with the problem at hand, even though it is not always based on this three points: problem proposal should be technically sound, budgets should be reasonable and the proposal might have the acceptance power from executive, legislation and judiciary (Anderson 2003).
Lastly, Policy adoption being another stage involves all the activities or action done by public officials to accept, transform, or discard preferred policy alternatives, and all the accepted procedures and functions done are legally authorized. Policy Budgeting is also one of the factors to consider during the making of public policy. It has been realized that once the budget is not huge or is within the range that policy will be accepted at fast rapidity but once the budget is huge it cripples the whole process. Policy implementation stage of the policy process comes after a bill becomes law, which contains the power to make the law more effectiveness and apply it to the target population inorder to achieve the intended goals through government agencies and officials (Randall B. Ripley and Grace A 1986). Lastly, policy evaluation differs with all the stages in the sense that instead of looking at future goals it tries to look back and see how other stages have done. Evaluation focuses on all the estimates done during budgeting, assessments, policy content, policy appraisals, how policy implemented as well as to see if at all an objective has achieved ( Charles L. Cochran and Eloise F. Malone 1992).
Public policies are those developed by governmental bodies and officials. (Nongovernmental actors and factors may of course influence public-policy development.) The special characteristics of public policies stem from their being formulated by what political scientist David Easton has called the “authorities” in a political system, namely, “elders, paramount chiefs, executives, legislators, judges, administrators, councilors, monarchs, and the like.” These are, he says, the persons who “engage in the daily affairs of a political system,” are “recognized by most members of the system as having responsibility for these matters,” and take actions that are “accepted as binding most of the time by most of the members so long as they act within the limits of their roles.”3 In short, public policies are those produced by government officials and agencies. They also usually affect substantial numbers of people.
Anderson, J, 1975, Public Policy Making, Praeger: New York
Dror Yehezkel, 1968, Public Policy Making Re-examined, Chandler: Pennsylonia
Charles L. Cochran and Eloise F. Malone, Public Policies: Perspectives ; Choices, 2nd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999), p. 52.
Dye, T, 1972, Understanding Public Policy, Prentice Hall: Englewoodcliff
Frohock. Fred M. 1979 Public Policy: Scope and Logic, Prentice Hall: Englewoodcliff
Easton, David (1953). The Political System: An Inquiry into the State of Political Science, New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Easton, David (1965) A Framework for Political Analysis, Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall
Young, Shaun P. ed. 2013, Evidence-Based Policy-Making in Canada, Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.
De Bruijn, H, ten Heuvelhof, E, 2008. “Management in networks: on multi-actor decision making”. Routledge p.1.
The National Security Strategy of The United States Of America 14-15 (2002), available at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/15538.pdf. accessed on 10/11/2018Michael w. Doyle, striking first: preemption and prevention in international conflict 20-23 (2008)
Pal, Leslie A, Beyond Policy Analysis: 3rd Edition. 2005
Anderson, J.E. (1979): Public Policy-Making. New York, USA: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Egonmwan, J.A. (1991): Public Policy Analysis: Concepts and Applications. Benin City: SMO Aka ; Brothers Press.
E. E. Schattschneider, The Semi sovereign People (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960), p. 129.
Dye T and Zeigler H, L, The Irony of Democracy, lOth ed. (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 1996), pp. 4-5. See also Thomas R. Dye, Top Down Policymaking (New York: Chatham House, 2001).
Cf. Layne Hoppe, “Agenda-Setting Strategies: The Case of Pollution Problems.” Unpublished paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association (September
Cf. Randall B. Ripley and Grace A. Franklin, Policy Implementation and Bureaucracy, 2nd ed. (Chicago: Dorsey, 1986), pp. 4-5.
Dewey, J, 1927, The Public and Its Problems,Denver: Swallow, pp. 12, 15-16.