Whether working in the community sector, research, advocacy or perhaps even government, individuals want to know how to get heard and how to have an impact on policy. But for the most part, as Clavier and De Leeuw suggest, the “complex and shifting rationalities of public policy making still largely elude” many of us (Clavier and de Leeuw 2013, p. 3). Both in the academic literature and in practice, two different views of policy exist which often sit in tension with one another. One depicts the policy process as a rational act, typically following a cycle (albeit not necessarily in a linear fashion). The other (and increasingly popular) presents policy as messy, inherently political and frequently inscrutable. We begin with outlining this tension because, not only does it run throughout the collection of writings contained in this book, it is central to the book as a whole. Through bringing together different views of policy, from widely different perspectives (i.e. from the world of government, advocacy and academia), this collection presents readers with a ‘toolbox’ approach to understanding and engaging with public policy. By this we mean that no one view of policy (design or implementation) is privileged over another, recognising that, under varying circumstances, different ideas about how policy processes function and how best to engage with them may be more or less valid. Rather than providing an academic critique or overview of the state of policy research and theory, this volume presents a resource for those wanting to engage with policy debates, design and implementation. It draws on the perspectives of individuals well versed in the ‘art’ of government and policy as well as those active in theorising policy processes and effects. Individual chapters, and the collection as a whole, create a picture of policy design and implementation that involves interplay between politics, values, ideas and evidence. Which of these elements is perceived to dominate depends upon the author, their world view, their role in policy and their experiences. From this diversity, we encourage readers to take away inspiration – just as no single chapter provides a roadmap for how you or your organisation can best navigate the world of policy, nor does the book as a whole. Instead, we anticipate this collection will function as a ‘jumping off point’, providing encouragement and inventiveness for finding new ways to move towards social change through engagement with the policy process and other policy actors.
|Title of host publication
|Creating and Implementing Public Policy. Cross-sectoral debates
|Gemma Carey, Kathy Landvogt and Jo Barraket
|Place of Publication
|Abingdon and New York
|Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
|Published - 2016