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Understanding Policy Success : Rethinking Public Policy - Allen McConnell

Understanding Policy Success

Rethinking Public Policy

Paperback

Published: 11th August 2010
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Success and failure are key to any consideration of public policy but there have been remarkably few attempts systematically to assess the various dimensions and complex nature of policy success. This important new text fills the gap by developing a systematic framework and offering an entirely new way of introducing students to policy analysis.

List of Tables, Boxes, Figures and Appendicesp. xii
Acknowledgementsp. xv
Introduction: The Thorny Topic of Policy Successp. 1
Success: Much Talked About but Rarely Studiedp. 3
The Importance of Conceptualizing Policyp. 4
Plan and Approach of the Bookp. 6
Perspectives on Success: The State of the Disciplinep. 10
Policy Evaluation and Improvementp. 11
Public Valuep. 14
Studies of Success and Failurep. 17
Successp. 17
Failurep. 21
Promoting Good Practice in Policy-making and Programme Managementp. 23
Political Strategy and Survivalp. 25
Conclusion: Taking Stock of Existing Literaturep. 27
Policy Success: Definitions and Dimensionsp. 29
What Is Policy Success?p. 30
A foundationalist position: policy success as 'fact'p. 30
An anti-foundationalist position: policy success as 'interpretation'p. 36
Policy success: a realistic definitionp. 39
The Three Dimensions of Policy Successp. 40
Process successp. 40
Programme successp. 45
Political successp. 49
Conclusionp. 54
Dissecting Success: The Spectrum from Success to Failurep. 55
The General Relationship between Success and Failurep. 55
Policy successp. 57
Durable successp. 58
Conflicted successp. 60
Precarious successp. 61
Policy failurep. 62
Processes, Programmes and Politics: From Success to Failurep. 63
Process: from success to failurep. 64
Programmes: from success to failurep. 66
Politics: from success to failurep. 72
Contradictions between the Three Dimensions of Successp. 75
Good process versus bad programmesp. 75
Good programmes versus bad politicsp. 78
Good politics versus bad programmesp. 78
Conclusionp. 80
Complexity: The Problems of Identifying and Measuring Successp. 81
Complicating Factorsp. 82
Success for whom?p. 82
Partial achievement of a goalp. 85
Weighing-up multiple objectivesp. 86
Reconciling contradictory objectivesp. 86
Factoring-in unintended consequencesp. 87
What if success is greater than planned?p. 88
Difficulty in isolating the policy effectp. 88
What would have happened if the policy had not existed?p. 89
Dealing with hidden agendas and lack of evidencep. 90
Assessing short-term versus long-termp. 92
Factoring-in spatial contextp. 92
Weighing-up conflict between different outcomes in processes, programmes and politicsp. 93
Practical Advice for Those Seeking to Assess whether a Policy is Successfulp. 94
Appendix: A Ten-Point Framework to Help Guide Researchers in Assessing the Success or Otherwise of a Policyp. 96
Framing Success: Claims, Counter-Claims and Agenda Impactp. 102
Who Claims Policy Success?p. 103
Unravelling the Discourse of Claims to Success (and Failure)p. 104
The multiple bases of success claims and counter-claimsp. 104
Narratives of successp. 111
The Agenda Impact of Claims to Successp. 113
Communicating achievementsp. 115
Ordering and stabilizationp. 115
Legitimationp. 116
Deflection of criticismp. 116
Justifying continuityp. 118
Opening a window for reformp. 118
Closing a window for changep. 119
Conclusionp. 119
Appendix: Framing Success and Framing Failure - 2008 House of Commons Debate on the UK Labour Government's Fiscal Rulesp. 120
Strategies for Policy-Making Success: Understanding Opportunities and Risksp. 124
Strategies for Policy Making Successp. 125
Striking a dealp. 125
Using warm, fuzzy, ambiguous languagep. 126
Using evidencep. 128
Deliberatingp. 130
Joining it upp. 132
Using executive musclep. 134
Inwards transferring of ideas and practices from other jurisdictionsp. 136
Innovatingp. 139
Placing Success Strategies in their Context: Helping Explain Feasibilities and Risksp. 140
Mapping the contextsp. 140
An overview of feasible and risky strategiesp. 145
Gun Control Reform In Australia after the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre: Mapping Policy-making Contexts to Explain a Case of Policy Makers 'Getting It Right'p. 149
The Poll Tax in Britain: Mapping Policy-making Contexts to Explain a Case of Policy-makers 'Getting It Wrong'p. 151
Conclusionp. 153
Appendix: Differing Contexts and the Feasibility of Strategies for Policy Making Successp. 154
Strategies for Evaluating Success: Understanding Pay-Offs and Pitfallsp. 160
What Do Policy-makers Want to Achieve From Evaluations?p. 162
A Tight-Grip Policy Evaluation Strategyp. 164
Keeping tight control of the format of evaluationsp. 165
Narrowing the parameters of investigationp. 168
Choosing evaluators who are most likely to produce the desired outcomesp. 169
Strategic use of funding and timescalesp. 171
Specifying tools, techniques and methodsp. 172
Intervening during the course of the evaluationp. 173
Restricting or blocking the release of the reportp. 174
Spinning the reportp. 174
Strategy: A Loose-Grip Approach to Policy Evaluationsp. 176
Relaxing the format of the evaluationp. 176
Allowing wide parameters for investigationp. 177
Choosing evaluators who may be highly critical of government policyp. 178
Refusing to mould the evaluation through use of funding and timescalesp. 178
Allowing substantial freedom in evaluation tools, techniques and methodsp. 179
Resisting temptation to intervene during the course of the evaluationp. 180
Allowing full and widespread dissemination of the reportp. 181
Resisting spinp. 181
Contexts in which Some Strategies are Riskier than Othersp. 182
Mapping the contextsp. 182
An overview of feasible and risky strategiesp. 185
Case Study: The 2002-06 Review of Public Administration in Northern Ireland: Mapping Policy Contexts to Explain a 'Tight-Grip' Strategyp. 187
Conclusionp. 189
Appendix: Contexts and Feasibility of Tight-, Relaxed- and Loose-Grip Evaluation Sirategiesp. 190
Reflections: Cultivating, Sustaining, Learning From and Predicting Successp. 196
Introductionp. 196
Are the Conditions for Cultivating Success the Same in Different Policy Contexts?p. 196
An argument: conditions for success are universalp. 197
An argument: conditions for success are different in every contextp. 199
An argument: success as familialp. 200
How Sustainable are Policy Programme Successes?p. 201
Factors helping sustain successful programmesp. 202
Factors hindering the sustainability of successful programmesp. 204
What factors help determine whether a policy success will be sustainable or unsustainable?p. 206
Are We More Liable to Learn from Successes or Failures?p. 207
A starting point: the nature of change and learningp. 207
Learning from successp. 209
Learning from failurep. 211
Learning from success and failure: a balance sheetp. 212
Can We Predict Policy Success?p. 215
An argument: prediction is desirable and feasiblep. 215
An argument: prediction is foolish and impossiblep. 216
An argument: we cannot predict but we can have foresightp. 217
Striking a balancep. 218
Conclusionp. 219
Conclusion: Rethinking Public Policy and Shining a Light in Dark Cornersp. 220
Contemporary Models of the Policy Process: A Brief Summaryp. 221
Policy cyclep. 221
Rational choicep. 222
New institutionalismp. 223
Groups and coalitionsp. 224
Socio-economic modelsp. 224
The Policy Success Heuristic: A Summaryp. 225
Policy Success: Shining a Spotlight in the Dark Corners of Public Policyp. 227
Good politics but bad policyp. 227
Symbolic/placebo policiesp. 228
Quick fixesp. 229
Policy on the hoofp. 230
Hidden agendasp. 231
The Policy Success Heuristic: Adding Value to Established Policy Theoriesp. 232
The Policy Success Heuristic as a New Model of Public Policyp. 234
Bibliographyp. 235
Indexp. 257
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780230239753
ISBN-10: 0230239757
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 265
Published: 11th August 2010
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6  x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.45
Edition Number: 1