SUCCESSFUL PUBLIC POLICY BEGINS AT INCEPTION
TO CREATE STRONG POLICY YOU MUST FIRST:
1 DEFINE THE PROBLEM, 2 GATHERED EVIDENCE, 3 IDENTIFY THE CAUSE, 4 EVALUATE A POLICY, 5 DEVELOP SOLUTIONS, 6 SELECT BEST SOLUTIONS, 7 EVALUATE BENEFITS AND COSTS, 8 UTILIZE THE PRINCE SYSTEM, 9 DEVELOP POLITICAL STRATEGIES
A) STRONG PUBLIC POLICY EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT, SERVES JUSTICE, SUPPORTS DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS AND PROCESSES AND ENCOURAGES AN ACTIVE, EMPATHIC CITIZENSHIP.
B) IS IT GOOD POLICY? ASK YOURSELF DOES THE POLICY SOLVE THE PROBLEM? WERE THE LAWS, REGULATIONS, DECISIONS OR ACTIONS TAKEN AS A RESULT OF THE POLICY SUCCESSFUL?
C) PROBLEM? POLICY IMPLEMENTED? RESULT?
D) DOES THE POLICY USE GOVERNMENT? IF SO AT WHAT LEVEL? IS THAT LEVEL APPROPRIATE?
E) PROBLEM? POLICY IMPLEMENTED? LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT? APPROPRIATE?
F) IS THE POLICY CONSTITUTIONAL? PURPOSE? CONSTITUTIONAL?
G) IS THE POLICY REALISTIC? IS THERE ENOUGH PUBLIC SUPPORT? WHAT ARE THE COST ASSOCIATED WITH THE POLICY? WILL THE POLICY BE PASSED?
Broadly, we might say that a public policy is simply what government (any public official who influences or determines public policy, including school officials, city council members, county supervisors, etc.) does or does not do about a problem that comes before them for consideration and possible action.
Specifically, public policy has a number of key attributes:
Policy is made in response to some sort of issue or problem that requires attention. Policy is what the government chooses to do (actual) or not do (implied) about a particular issue or problem.
Policy might take the form of law, or regulation, or the set of all the laws and regulations that govern a particular issue or problem.
Policy is made on behalf of the “public.”
Policy is oriented toward a goal or desired state, such as the solution of a problem.
Policy is ultimately made by governments, even if the ideas come from outside government or through the interaction of government and the public.
Policy-making is part of an ongoing process that does not always have a clear beginning or end, since decisions about who will benefit from policies and who will bear any burden resulting from the policy are continually reassessed, revisited and revised.
No doubt, there are many problems in our communities that need to be solved. Some problems may readily be dealt with by actions taken in the private sphere (individuals and families) or by our civil society (social, economic, or political associations or organizations).
Public policy problems are those that must be addressed by laws and regulations adopted by government. Your first task in Pro-Citizen is to firmly establish that the problem you want to work on is, in fact, one which requires government involvement to reach a solution.
UTILIZING STRONG COMMUNICATION IS INEVITABLEStrategic communication is a term used to describe the communication principles, strategies, and initiatives used to further an organization’s goals, mission, or values. It is a multidisciplinary professional field, drawing upon communication practices found in related disciplines, including public relations, mass communication, advertising, and organizational communication. Individuals with a graduate education in strategic communication might pursue employment in public relations, digital and online media, politics, corporate consulting, lobbying and social advocacy, government and nonprofit, healthcare, marketing and advertising research, or higher education, to name just a few possible career paths.
Strategic communication sits at the intersection of management strategy and communication, focused on the idea of purposeful messaging, whether between an organization and its employees or a nonprofit agency advocating for social issues. Its theories and practices help global marketing directors, public relations directors, corporate communication consultants, political operatives, chief branding officers, and other communication professionals plan, research, organize, and execute internal and external communication initiatives that align with their organization’s values or mission, anything from improving internal training materials to launching a digital campaign for voting rights. Strategic communication can be delivered in a wide range of mediums, including press releases, social media posts, radio and television advertisements, internal memos, interviews, white papers, and more.
At its most basic, political communication is the dialogue between political organizations (e.g. political parties), political actors (e.g. elected officials), the media, and private citizens. It is an interdisciplinary field that blends the social sciences, strategic communication, and media studies with politics and government. Political communication techniques and strategies allow policy advocates, public relations officers, speechwriters, campaign executives, political consultants, political marketers, elected officials and other political professionals to create, shape, and distribute messages that can influence the political process. Political messaging can take many forms, including speech writing, social and online media, television and radio, interpersonal communication between candidates and prospective voters, policy studies, press releases, and more.
Additionally, political communication is also a field of research in academia. Professionals in this area study the relationship between the three processes of political communication: production (how messages are developed and transmitted), content (what is contained in each message), and effect (how messages are received and interpreted). For example, political communication scholars might examine how governments justify accessing and recording private citizen’s online personal information (e.g. ISP addresses) as a form of mass communication monitoring, or how social media is blurring the boundaries of private and public communication regarding political beliefs and attitudes. Another potential avenue of inquiry might be the relationship between speeches made by politicians regarding job development or educational system improvements and their influence on certain populations of voters
HOW TO WRITE POLICY PROPOSALS
Efficiency and effectiveness are often two outcomes of a policy change. Making change can be difficult, but putting facts on paper is the best way to make your case. Policy proposals can be carried out in a variety of settings, from academics to business. In a policy proposal you attempt to address a problem and describe how the problem can be resolved or changed. If you are writing a policy proposal, knowing the steps to follow and the necessary requirements can help you create an effective proposal. If you are writing a proposal for a specific forum with certain format requirements, make sure your proposal follows these. For example, if working from home is a cost efficient change that would accommodate the needs of employees and the organization, a policy proposal presented to leadership is the best course of action.
RESEARCH THE ISSUE
First, research the issue so that you can incorporate facts into your proposal. Factual information adds to the credibility of what you are proposing, supports your proposed change and highlights any faults with the current policies. For example, if work space is an issue, calculate the square footage needed to fulfill workstation needs and show how working remotely would solve the problem.
DESCRIBE THE PROBLEM
Begin your proposal by stating the problem and how it affects the audience. For example, if there is a company policy or practice you feel is ineffective or hindering employees, state that. Or if you are arguing against research findings, state your reasons against the research and why.Volume 0%00:0001:06
PROPOSE A SOLUTION
Follow your statement with a proposed solution and how to implement it. For example, outline the rules that would be applied to employees that work from home and outline how employee workflow would be monitored.
PRESENT THE FACTS
Present research and facts that support your proposal. These can be from scientific studies, other companies or organizations that have followed the newly proposed policy or other credible sources that support your argument. For example, provide examples of other successful companies that have implemented a remote workforce and include the cost savings and employee satisfaction numbers in your proposal. Visuals can help to elaborate on your proposal and make it easier to understand. Visuals can include poster boards, PowerPoint presentations or videos that support your point.
WRAP IT UP
Write a short conclusion to your proposal. Keep your conclusion to a paragraph or two that summarizes all of the information you have stated and presented in your policy proposal.
CITE YOUR SOURCES
Write up a “Works Cited” page for any factual information you cited in the paper from other sources, as well as a bibliography page for any research you used in writing your proposal. The works cited page is only for quotes that you included directly from other sources, whereas a bibliography incorporates any sources you used in gathering information for your article.
- Public Policy Writing: Task For Developing Proposals And Petitions
- How to Write a Policy Analysis
- Definition of Micro & Macro Economics
- How to Write a Policy Report
How a Bill Becomes a Law
This advocacy tool describes the process of how a bill becomes a law at the federal level.
You can be an effective advocate when you familiarize yourself with how the public policy process works and the times in which your advocacy can have the greatest impact.
STEP 1: The Creation of a Bill
Members of the House or Senate draft, sponsor and introduce bills for consideration by Congress. The House clerk assigns a legislative number for bills introduced in the House of Representatives (e.g., H.R. 1001) and the Senate clerk assigns a legislative number for bills introduced in the Senate (e.g., S. 1002).
STEP 2: Committee Action
Usually, a committee is assigned to study the bill according to its subject matter. Often a committee will refer the bill to one of its subcommittees. The subcommittee may request reports from government agencies, hold hearings so experts and interested parties have an opportunity to offer testimony regarding the issue, “mark up” or revise the bill, or report the legislation to the full committee for its consideration. The full committee may make a recommendation to pass the bill, to revise (i.e., mark up) and release the bill (also known as reporting the bill out of committee), or to lay the bill aside (also known as tabling the bill).
STEP 3: Floor Action
The bill is returned to the full House or Senate for further debate and approval. At this point members may propose amendments to the bill, add additional text, or otherwise alter the bill.
STEP 4: Vote
House and Senate members vote on their respective versions of the proposed bill.
STEP 5: Conference Committees
A bill must be approved by both Chambers of Congress. When the Senate amends and agrees to a bill or a version of a bill that the House has already passed or when the House amends and passes a Senate bill or a version of a Senate bill, the two Chambers may begin to resolve any legislative differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill by way of a conference committee. When the chambers go to conference, the House and Senate send conferees or representatives to bargain and negotiate. The final compromise is embodied in a Conference Report that must be agreed to by both chambers before it is cleared for presidential consideration. The Conference Report will recommend a common version of the measure for approval and will also include statements of legislative intent regarding provisions of the legislation in a Joint Statement of Managers of the Conference.
STEP 6: Presidential Action
After the bill is passed by both Chambers it is sent to the President for his approval or his signature, which if granted creates a Public Law. When a President comments on and refuses to sign a bill it is known as a veto. A vetoed bill may return to Congress for reconsideration. If the President does not act within 10 days the bill automatically becomes law. If Congress adjourns during the 10 days after the bill is sent to the President and he does not sign it, the bill is automatically vetoed. This process is also known as a pocket veto.
STEP 7: The Creation of a Law
The Office of Federal Register assigns the Public Law a number (i.e. P.L. 109-1) and the Government Printing Office prints a copy of it. Laws are issued first in slip form or a single publication containing one law. Later it is organized in the order in which it was passed. Finally, it is codified into subject order so that all laws on the same topic fall together.
‘No legacy is so rich as honesty.’ (William Shakespeare) Today, individuals’ urge to shape their future collectively is greater than ever. Their quest for new ways of governance is leading to fundamental changes whereby individuals, private and public institutions try to harmonize their diverse interests through complicated interactive decision making processes. While the relationship between citizens and public administration is being restructured in today’s world, the concept of “governance” is also going through a transformation. The new “governance” concept entails a mutual interaction between the government and the citizens.THE SECTORS
The Public Sector is usually comprised of organizations that are owned and operated by the government and exist to provide services for its citizens. Similar to the voluntary sector, organizations in the public sector do not seek to generate a profit.
Funding for public services are usually raised through a variety of methods, including taxes, fees, and through financial transfers from other levels of government (e.g. from a federal to a provincial or state government).
Different governments from around the world may employ their own unique method of funding for public services.
For example, in Canada a Crown corporation is an enterprise owned by the Crown (or Queen) but still has the ability to function like a private enterprise. The BC Lottery Corporation is a provincial Crown corporation and in 2013/14 generated $1.17 billion dollars of net revenue that it was able to directly invest back into BC’s provincial economy.
Sometimes the public sector will partner with an organization in the private sector to create a public-private partnership. These hybrid organizations (named P3s) work together to jointly deliver a service or business venture to a community (see examples).
Through the process of outsourcing, public sector organizations will often engage private enterprises to deliver goods and services to its citizens.
Examples of the Public Sector
Examples of organizations in the public sector include:
- Education (Schools, Libraries)
- Emergency Services
- Fire Service
- Gas and Oil
- Law Enforcement
- Police Services
- Postal Service
- Public Transit
- Social Services
- Waste Management
Levels of Government
Public sector organizations usually exist at three levels:
- Federal or National
- Regional (State or Provincial)
- Local (Municipal or County)
Trends in the Public Sector
In the United States, researchers Keith Hall and Robert Greene state that since the beginning of the Great Recession, the private sector has been shrinking while the public sector has been growing in most states.
In Canada, the public sector is also ‘crowding out’ private job growth.
In the United Kingdom, the opposite seems to be true: the private sector is growing while the public sector is shrinkingprivate sector is growing while the public sector is shrinking.
The Private Sector is usually comprised of organizations run by individuals and groups who seek to generate and return a profit back to its owners.
Organizations in the private sector are usually free from government control or ownership, but sometimes choose to partner with a government body in a public-private partnership to jointly deliver a service or business venture to a community.
Popular examples of public-private partnerships, or P3s, in different countries include:
- The West Coast Infrastructure Exchange (WCX) in the United States
- Many health and education facilities in the United Kingdom
- Ontario’s Highway 407 in Canada
Examples of the Private Sector
Small, privately owned business form the greater part of the private sector. Despite this fact, this sector boasts a rich diversity of individuals, partnerships, and groups — from small mom and pop stores to multi-national conglomerates.
Examples of organizations in the private sector include:
- Sole Proprietors: Designers, Developers, Plumbers, Repairmen
- Partnerships: Dentistry, Legal, Accounting, Tax
- Small and Medium-sized Businesses: Retail, Hospitality, Food, Leisure, Legal Services
- Large Multinationals: Apple, Tesla, Disney, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo
- Professional/Trade Associations: Canadian Institute of Management, American Management Association
- Trade Unions: British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, American Postal Workers Union
Size of the Private Sector
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country represents the final value of all goods and services produced in a period of time.
In most developed countries, the private sector contributes a significant percentage towards its total GDP. The data (as of 2004) is as follows:United States 89.46%Canada 87.72%Australia 85.85%Japan 84.38%United Kingdom 83.65%
Trends in the Private Sector
In the United States, researchers Keith Hall and Robert Greene state that since the beginning of the Great Recession, the private sector has been shrinking while the public sector has been growing in most states.
In Canada, the public sector is also ‘crowding out’ private job growth.
In the United Kingdom, the opposite seems to be true: the private sector is growing while the public sector is shrinking.
The Voluntary Sector is usually comprised of organizations whose purpose is to benefit and enrich society, often without profit as a motive and with little or no government intervention.
Unlike the private sector where the generation and return of profit to its owners is emphasized, money raised or earned by an organization in the voluntary sector is usually invested back into the community or the organization itself.
One way to think of the voluntary sector is that its purpose is to create social wealth rather than material wealth.
Although the voluntary sector is separate from the public sector, many organizations are often tightly integrated with governments on all levels to support it in the delivery of programs and services.
Examples of the Voluntary Sector
There are many different types of organizations in the voluntary sector.
Some of these organizations have a mix of paid and volunteer staff, like most charities. Other organizations are much more loosely defined, like community groups, and can be composed entirely of volunteers.
Examples of organizations in the voluntary sector include:
- Charities: World Vision, American Red Cross, YWCA
- Foundations: David Suzuki Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Social Welfare Organizations: Human Rights Watch, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Advocacy Groups: Privacy International, World Wildlife Fund
- Faith-Based Organizations: Churches, Mosques, Temples
- Community Groups: Neighbourhood Watch, Knitting
- Recreational Sports: Ultimate Frisbee, Running Clubs
The National Center of Charitable Statistics (used by the IRS to classify nonprofits) divides nonprofits into 26 major groups under 10 broad categories.
Size of the Voluntary Sector
There are different estimates for the size, income, and activities of organizations in the voluntary sector.
In the US, the voluntary sector contributed an estimated $905.9b to the US economy in 2013, or 5.4% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
In Canada, the voluntary sector accounts for 6.8% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs 12% of Canada’s economically active population (reported in 2005).
In the UK, it is estimated that the voluntary sector contributes £11.7 billion to UK gross value added (GVA, similar to a GDP), equivalent to 0.8% of the whole of the UK GVA (reported in 2012).
Voluntary Sector Definition. Retrieved June 16, 2019, from http://www.PrivacySense.net
The Importance of Civil Societies
The Importance of Civil Societies: Civil society organizations engage in advocating the public’s rights and wishes of the people, including but not limited to health, environment and economic rights. They fulfill important duties of checks and balances in democracies, they are able to influence the government and hold it accountable. Therefore, free and active civil societies are an indicator of a healthy participatory democracy.
However, they can only function where freedom of speech and right of free assembly are guaranteed. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many countries around the world. In the Middle East too we have witnessed growing restrictions on civil societies.
To stand up for civil societies worldwide our Berlin headquarters are launching the Global Perspective Conference on “The Future of Civil Spaces” with over 160 international participants. In coordination with the conference the Heinrich Böll Foundation also launched the Civic Charter which is the global framework for people’s participation and aims to protect civil societies. The charter calls on governments to guarantee and protect civil societies. The co- president of our foundation, Barbara Unmüßig, co-drafted the charter.
The Role of Civil Society Organizations in Supporting Fiscal Transparency in African Countries
Civil society organizations (CSOs) can play an important role in enhancing transparency and good governance in developing countries by contributing to increased public debate on issues surrounding the formulation and implementation of government budgets as well as in supporting greater transparency of public revenues. This paper reviews some recent measures to improve fiscal transparency in Nigeria, highlights the role played by CSOs, and identifies possible strategies which CSOs and senior government officials in various African countries may adopt in order to promote more constructive and transparent dialogue on fiscal management issues.
Infrastructure, transport, energy, mining and development
Constructive Edge has a particular focus on how to motivate and lead corporations to leverage their Socio-Economic Advantage to deliver better projects in the countries in which they seek to work. To us this means pushing them to deliver greater positive outcomes for more stakeholders, bringing economic benefits to the communities in which they operate and, indirectly, to the government customers with whom they contract. At the same time they can measure these outcomes against their own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) targets and shareholder expectations.
We assist clients with:
- Development of a strategy to target the socio-economic needs of a jurisdiction
- Development of a marcom strategy to highlight hot button issues within a jurisdiction
- Research and identification of local supply chain opportunities
- Project proposal development and writing
- Negotiation, documentation and compliance
- Industrial cooperation project development and fulfillment
- Post contract administration
- Advisory services and consultancy
The partners of Constructive Edge have worked over the past 30 years on large public sector procurements in numerous countries including major ones such as Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, SE Asia and India. In each of these cases governments sought outcomes from the expenditure of public dollars that may not normally have been linked to the procurement or realised without specific effort or mandated requirements.
Our skill sets allow us to go into a country and identify and structure socio-economic projects in ways which will leverage the procurement budget to benefit the “buyer” economy and its constituents. We can pro-actively create an environment which encourages targeted and incremental commercial investment and commitment in ways which are WTO compliant. We have the personnel and skills which enable us to advise specifically on the area of economic industrial cooperation, bid and project evaluation and structuring, risk assessment, and regulatory frameworks.
- Identifying the most effective tools to leverage effective socio-economic outcomes from government procurement programs. We are familiar with a broad array of choices other governments have made and know what is effective and what is not.
- Ensuring the socio-economic development framework ultimately put in place is not subject to rebuke by other jurisdictions, WTO, etc. All companies bidding must see they are on the same level playing field and have the same opportunities.
- Identifying and adapting to your circumstances, the global best practices in this field.
- Developing a framework for effective monitoring, evaluating and communicating outcomes.
- Identifying strategic industry sectors, critical leading edge technologies and related “best of breed” companies that should be attracted to and would be willing to participate as full partners in economic development.
- Bid evaluation tools, value-adding creativity, innovation, regional considerations and procurement considerations including supply chain choices
- Develop both training and education for government employees and private sector in-country. This can be our own proprietary programs on the development and management of socio economic advancement techniques and/or custom offerings from our partner Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business Executive Education. Georgetown can access internal economics, diplomacy, business finance, strategy and SME focussed programs and also utilize numerous US Government resources located in Washington, DC. Many additional program areas are available for delivery in-country or on the Georgetown University Campus in Washington, DC.
PUBLIC ADMIN SECTOR
Many public administration professionals earn their MPA degree and work in several different sectors over their career, including government, nonprofits, international organizations and even consulting. There are even some MPA holders who spend part of their career working in the private sector, often in partnership with public agencies.
If you are thinking about earning your MPA, you could enjoy the following benefits during your career:
#1 Work on Many Types of Public Sector Issues
Professionals who work in public administration can work in many different sectors and on many different issues in their career. Being able to work in so many different areas over time makes public administration a great fit for those who want to make a difference to the public and society. Some of the most popular public administration issues today include:
- Climate change and its causes
- Water and food supply security in developing nations
- Reducing the incidence of major diseases in underserved populations
- How to secure the US against terrorism and biological agents
- Helping former convicts to reenter society and become productive citizens
- HIV/AIDs crisis
- Providing quality education and health care for those in need
These are just a small sample of the issues that you can work on in your public administration career.
#2 Discover Many Public Administration Specializations
One of the limits on your undergraduate education in many disciplines is not being able to dive deep into your career interests. Having a generalized education has value, but to gain more experience in specific public sectors, you will normally need to get an MPA degree where you can focus on specific concentrations that have promise or interest for you.
For example, at the University of Delaware, their MPA program has the following popular specialties:
- Public Policy and Management: This specialization will ready you for various managerial and analyst positions in all public sector organizations. This is a good choice if you want an administrative position with a federal agency or a state or local government department.
- Nonprofit and Community Leadership: This concentration will prepare you for a leadership role with organizations that work in local and community economic development, poverty, housing and neighborhood planning. This is a good path for the MPA professional who wants a public service career but not always in a government agency.
- Emergency Management: You will be prepared to work as a disaster professional in support of communities, governments and public organizations. You will work in the preparation, response, recovery and mitigation of various emergency situations, including natural disasters and terrorism.
- Healthcare Policy: For those who want to work in administrative and managerial roles in health care and healthcare delivery systems. You will learn how to analyze, implement and evaluate effective health policies in local, state and federal agencies.
#3 Public Administrators Earn a Good Salary
Many professionals with an MPA work as administrative service managers in many different departments in the local, state and federal government. These workers have a high degree of administrative and managerial responsibility, and earn a median salary of $86,000 per year.
They are responsible for planning, directing and coordinating supportive services of the organization or department. Their specific responsibilities can vary, but they will usually be responsible for maintaining facilities, departments and supervising public sector services and activities.
Interestingly, the salary level for administrative service managers is higher in some cases for those who work in the private sector:
- Finance and insurance: $97,000
- Scientific, professional and technical services: $95,000
- State and local government: $87,000
- Educational services: $82,000
- Health care and social services: $80,000
Other MPA holders may work in urban and regional planning, which also offers a good salary of $69,000 per year.
#4 Obtain Outstanding Public Leadership Training
If you earned your undergraduate degree in public administration or public policy, you have learned about the daily operations of government organizations and the political process. You did not receive extensive training however on how to manage workers and financial resources, which is of critical importance for upper level managers and administrators in government.
In your MPA program, you will be introduced to the many challenges of managing finances and human resources in the government, as well as strategies and tools to boost production and motivation. Your MPA will prepare you for leadership responsibilities in government, just as an MBA prepares a business professional for leadership in business.
For example, American University in Washington, DC has the Key Executive Leadership MPA, which has been ranked #5 in the US by US News and World Report. This advanced program provides you with a leadership focused MPA that will prepare you to become a leader in the federal government.
#5 Great Job Stability
Working in public service, especially in government agencies, provides you with strong job security. Most government workers, once they are in their positions, have very strong job security. Although there are fewer public sector workers now than a decade ago, the number is rather misleading.
Some senior employees have continued to work after the last recession, so this may have caused employment numbers to dip in government agencies. But new public administrator jobs in government are growing. Once a worker is hired in the state or federal government, your job is usually strongly protected, so you will not have to worry about being unemployed in a downturn.
#6 Develop Strong Analytical Skills
Public administrators spend most of their time collecting data, analyzing large amounts of it and presenting the final results to other workers and administrators. You will learn how to use advanced analytical tools in your MPA program so that you can break down all of that data. Then you may find the various causations and correlations that will make the data of use.
The MPA degree you earn will provide you with a strong foundation in analytics and statistics that you can use in many government and nonprofit roles. For instance, you will learn how to handle internal auditing and analysis that will help you to keep agency or department books balanced, and to track spending in that organization.
Whichever MPA program you select, you will definitely take data analysis classes. You will take a course called Problem Solving and Data Analysis I. This course will cover skills and techniques for public managers to solve problems related to policies and to analyze the related data. It focuses on analyzing data, defining the problem, research design and solving problems in uncertain conditions. That program also requires you to take electives in Policy Analysis and Economic Analysis in Public Administration.
#7 The Development…
The crucial role of public administration in development, particularly in developing countries and economies in transition.
The Importance of Public Administration
Scholar and author John McDonald Pfiffner wrote, “Public administration consists of getting the work of the government done by coordinating the efforts of the people so that they can work together to accomplish their set tasks…managing, directing, and supervising the activities of thousands, even millions of workers so that some order and efficiency may result from their efforts.” Holding key positions as innovators in politics, academia, and the private sector, public administrators’ duties are manifold and include improving healthcare and education systems; pursuing equality and social justice; supporting industry and economic growth; and promoting community sustainability and environmental protections, to name a few. While public administrators influence many areas of civil service, their efficiency is especially valuable in the following six disciplines of public administration.
Community development has long been within the purview of local governments, planning boards, businesses, and civic groups, but public administration also has a role to play. Communities are developed through a network of stakeholders—residents, business owners, developers, and so on—each with different needs and goals. Public administrators support and network between stakeholders, allowing them to address the details that improve a community (economics, housing, social and medical services). Public administrators facilitate activity by creating networks within multi-organizational partnerships. For example, a public administrator working in community development might hold a position in city or county government and be tasked with researching and implementing programs that promote economic mobility and offer government grants or loans to members of women’s or minority organizations.
Sustainable development is the process of meeting society’s current needs without compromising future generations’ ability to do the same; this means promoting economic development that does not deplete natural resources. As part of this effort, public administrators oversee the stewardship of lands, urban infrastructures, healthcare delivery methods, and many other complicated systems, ensuring their efficiency and stability. According to the American Society for Public Administration, public administrators were the first to bring attention to environmental concerns in the 1940s, ultimately leading to the development of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the establishment of Earth Day. In this way, public administrators play a key role in developing sustainable community infrastructures. For example: in Portland, Oregon, administrators at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability are responsible for improving and updating the Climate Action Plan—a partnership between the city and county that acts as a roadmap to the region’s short- and long-term goals of reducing its carbon footprint and improving quality of life for residents.
Public administrators are tasked with protecting the interests of the average citizen, and as the population has become increasingly concerned with the harmful effects of climate change, public administrators have begun orchestrating policies related to environmental management. Environmentalists, small businesses, corporations, and the average worker all have ideas as to how the environment and natural resources should be used and maintained, and federal, state and local governments are caught in the middle of that argument. While individuals and groups lobby for their own interests—ranging from unencumbered use, complete conservation, or something in between—public administrators must find a compromise where environmental resources are responsibly managed and economic interests are satisfied. Public administrators working in environmental management careers must have a working knowledge of laws and policies regarding water, land management, and other natural resources. Within the realm of environmental protection, there are careers available in government agencies, the nonprofit world, and the for-profit sector.
The public administrator’s role in leadership—especially governmental and political leadership—is expanding rapidly. U.S. constitutional scholar John Rohr has argued that though society could exist without a legislature or judiciary, it could never survive without public administration. The daily functions of government are performed by the public administrators who organize, implement and oversee the enforcing agencies that administer the laws and regulations that keep public life in motion.
As the population grows and the government expands to meet the needs of its citizens, so too does the need for special advisers like public administrators, who assist leaders and executives. Public administrators are tasked with upholding the public’s interests and can thwart attempts by politicians to circumvent the checks and balances of democracy. Public administration leadership roles can be found throughout local government, ranging from city managers to police commissioners, and these key officials help to ensure that the social, economic, and educational needs of the public are properly met. For example, an education administrator often develops programs and manages budgets for school districts or academic communities. Urban planning directors, for instance, oversee land usage and developments within growing communities. Public administration roles can also be found in the nonprofit sector, with many administrators acting as budget or economic development directors. Budget directors often administer economic development programs for city or county governments, studying market trends and assessing opportunities or threats to the local economy. An economic development director might advise a city manager or city council on emerging economic issues or present findings to local civic or business development groups.
Though government leaders and public administrators would prefer to avoid crises entirely, they must possess the ability to predict and plan for potential catastrophes in the event that they come to fruition. In the midst of a crisis, efficiency and accountability can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of people. Time is of the essence in a crisis, and public administrators need to have the organizational skills and knowledge to deploy necessary aid rapidly, safely and efficiently. From the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to independent humanitarian organizations like the American Red Cross, public administrators work within all levels of crisis management and disaster relief—both within the private and public sectors—to ensure that people in need receive much-needed aid and care in a timely fashion during and after a major crisis. Public administrators are also responsible for overseeing the inevitable recovery and reconstruction period that follows a crisis, where the guidance and supervisory capabilities of administrators reduce the economic impact of a disaster.
American public safety services prior to September 11, 2001 functioned largely independent of one another, with fire, police and medical services operating autonomously. As a result of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Congress in November 2002 passed the Homeland Security Act, establishing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), staffed by public administrators whose goal it is to assess and manage threats to public safety. Public administrators play a crucial role in aiding federal agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Transportation Security Administration. On a local level, public administrators organize efforts to improve communications and share data between public safety services. Those interested in a career in public safety administration could go on to work in law enforcement, as a fire department administrator, or as a local, state, or federal emergency service coordinator.
Working as a public administrator can be a challenging undertaking.
The Policymaking Process
Public policy refers to the actions taken by government — its decisions that are intended to solve problems and improve the quality of life for its citizens. At the federal level, public policies are enacted to regulate industry and business, to protect citizens at home and abroad, to aid state and city governments and people such as the poor through funding programs, and to encourage social goals.
A policy established and carried out by the government goes through several stages from inception to conclusion. These are agenda building, formulation, adoption, implementation, evaluation, and termination.
Before a policy can be created, a problem must exist that is called to the attention of the government. Illegal immigration, for example, has been going on for many years, but it was not until the 1990s that enough people considered it such a serious problem that it required increased government action. Another example is crime. American society tolerates a certain level of crime; however, when crime rises dramatically or is perceived to be rising dramatically, it becomes an issue for policymakers to address. Specific events can place a problem on the agenda. The flooding of a town near a river raises the question of whether homes should be allowed to be built in a floodplain. New legislation on combating terrorism (the USA Patriot Act, for example) was a response to the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Formulation and Adoption
Policy formulation means coming up with an approach to solving a problem. Congress, the executive branch, the courts, and interest groups may be involved. Contradictory proposals are often made. The president may have one approach to immigration reform, and the opposition-party members of Congress may have another. Policy formulation has a tangible outcome: A bill goes before Congress or a regulatory agency drafts proposed rules. The process continues with adoption. A policy is adopted when Congress passes legislation, the regulations become final, or the Supreme Court renders a decision in a case.
The implementation or carrying out of policy is most often accomplished by institutions other than those that formulated and adopted it. A statute usually provides just a broad outline of a policy. For example, Congress may mandate improved water quality standards, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides the details on those standards and the procedures for measuring compliance through regulations. As noted earlier, the Supreme Court has no mechanism to enforce its decisions; other branches of government must implement its determinations. Successful implementation depends on the complexity of the policy, coordination between those putting the policy into effect, and compliance. The Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education is a good example. The justices realized that desegregation was a complex issue; however, they did not provide any guidance on how to implement it “with all deliberate speed.” Here, implementation depended upon the close scrutiny of circuit and appeals court judges, as well as local and state school board members who were often reluctant to push social change.
Evaluation and Termination
Evaluation means determining how well a policy is working, and it is not an easy task. People inside and outside of government typically use cost-benefit analysis to try to find the answer. In other words, if the government is spending x billions of dollars on this policy, are the benefits derived from it worth the expenditure? Cost-benefit analysis is based on hard-to-come-by data that are subject to different, and sometimes contradictory, interpretations.
History has shown that once implemented, policies are difficult to terminate. When they are terminated, it is usually because the policy became obsolete, clearly did not work, or lost its support among the interest groups and elected officials that placed it on the agenda in the first place. In 1974, for example, Congress enacted a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour. It was effective in reducing highway fatalities and gasoline consumption. On the other hand, the law increased costs for the trucking industry and was widely viewed as an unwarranted federal intrusion into an area that belonged to the states to regulate. The law was repealed in 1987.
THIS MUST BE DONE!POLITICAL 7 SERIES 7