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In many countries, sectoral policy making and planning together with programming constitute the key steps in the implementation of activities as well as investments in health sectors. Other sectors such as transport, energy and agriculture are also involved in policy making process. Different sectors take different forms of policy making process in different countries. This is because of the variation in the political as well as institutional context (OECD, 2009). As a result, it is easy for one to distinguish between the processes of formulating a policy during its planning and programming states. A number of scholars and practitioners have been involved in the process of policy analysis. However, little attention has been given to its analysis as well as the research designs and methodologies involved (OECD, 2009).
A policy is said to be a principle or a rule that guides decisions in a sector in order to attain rational outcomes. The main aim of policies and their formulation as well as implementation is to help in both subjective and objective decision making in any given sector or organization. For this reason, a policy is said to be a statement of intent or commitment, holding accountable any decision maker for their policies (OECD, 2009).
Formulation Stage of Statements into Policies
Health research utilization in health reforms have been used as an important tool in policy making. This is because it helps in understanding the mechanisms involved together with its wide recognition. Reports show that there has been growing need for resource improvement in developing health sectors in developing countries, and increasing pressure for accountability. Continued involvement in research in health sector is playing a leading role in the formulation of policies based on the statements drawn from the research (Keller, 2009).
Policy formulation stage sets out the larger perspective and objective to be pursued in a given sector over a given period of time. The main approaches include implementation of associated policies (OECD, 2009). The role of the associated policies is to help reach the aim of the policy. In this stage, national policies are translated into specific sector policies. These policies later provide directions for the design of operational plans. In addition, they are needed for the mobilization of resources required for their implementation. Some of these statements may be within the ministry upon which the sector falls. For instance, the health sector statements may have been generated from the health ministry (OECD, 2009).
The strategy of any sector leading to the formulation of policies is always guided by statements such as vision and mission statements. Other statements may include sustainable development strategy statements and PRS. This is because they outline a broader statement of intent thus reflecting and focusing the political agenda as well as providing agencies under the same sector with the required motive (Keller, 2009).
In policy formulation, a clear picture of the sector is needed that will help in the development of alternative specific strategies. Different sectors have varied alternatives depending on their situations and need. There also exist generic statements that can be applied to different sectors in the formulation of their policies (OECD, 2009).
Legislation Stage in Changing a Statement into a Policy
Policies are vital in any national sector or organization. Formulation and legislation of statements into policies serves with various benefits. These legislations are important because they communicate values as well as expectations for how things are done within an organization. In addition, policies legislation is vital since it keeps an organization or sector in compliance with the legislation that governs it and provides guidance that end up being a protection to employees (Sullivan, 2011). Moreover, legislation is critical because it plays an important role in the documentation and implementation of best practices that are considered appropriate for an organization. In some cases, sectors such as the health sector would consider legislation of policies because it supports continuous treatment of staff, equality as well as transparency (Sullivan, 2011). The management of any sector or organization is well positioned to make consistent decisions that are uniform and predictable due to legislation of policies. In certain organizations or government sectors, legislation of policies helps in the management of the sector. This is because the management team has the ability to make decisions considered to be predictable. Legislation of policies also protects organizations and individuals from pressure of expediency (Sullivan, 2011).
The legislation of policies widely involves drafting of the policy. In this case, the purpose and the intent of the policy are made clear. For instance, a health policy can have a purpose of ensuring a safe and healthy environment for everyone in regard to the set health legislations. In addition, the legislation of the policy sets out the scope of the policy being changed from a statement (Keller, 2009). The purpose of this is to outline to whom the policy applies. In addition, the scope of the policy in its legislation should also put into consideration those whom the policy does not apply to. In the legislation stage of the policy, the statement is vital because it is the actual rule or standard of the policy that is needed in the process of communicating the policy.
In addition, the legislation of any policy is not complete without definition of terms used. Should these terms be used during policy legislation that underpins the policy, then the definitions from the legislations must be used. In addition, a policy must include a related procedure for it to be complete. This is vital in its process of legislations. Most policies have related procedures of legislation. The importance of the procedures is to give instructions step-by-step in the process of implementation and legislation of the policy. In certain cases, policies require processes that are very specific (OECD, 2009). For instance, vocational policy must state how much vocation employees are entitled to.
One other important part of policy legislation is the review of the policy by the key stakeholders. It is considered a good practice if all participants in policy-making are asked to review the policy. In certain cases, a group of senior employees and managers are involved in the review process (Keller, 2009). The review process seeks to put in check both the skills and resources necessary for the implementation of the policy. In addition, stake holders review to find out if there is need for training for the policy to be fully implemented. Furthermore, employees as well as stakeholders are involved in raising concerns and issues that they think may arise within the sector or organization after the implementation of the policy (Sullivan, 2011).
Implementation of Policies
Policy implementation is a stage in which the statements are changed into policies. The government is responsible for the execution of an adopted policy as it has been specified by the policy action or legislation. At this particular stage, government agencies responsible for policy implementation are involved. Each agency is involved in a particular policy that directly affects its operations (OECD, 2009). This makes it formally responsible for the implementation of the given policy. Policy implementation is what government agencies involve in after a statement or bill has been passed into law. Once the government has legitimized certain form of policy such as rules and regulations, the stipulation of the policy becomes the next responsibility (Keller, 2009). The responsible government agencies are involved in the administration and the enforcement of the policy with an aim of bringing out the desired outcome. This responsibility defaults a given government agency executive and provides the need for designation that agency as having the responsibility for the implementation of that policy. The responsible agency has the requisite resources and authority to ensure that the new policy is implemented to the latter (Sullivan, 2011).
Policy implementation is a vital stage in the conversion of a statement into a policy. In this stage, the policy action occurs aiming at addressing the policy problem. Moreover, the design of the policy proposal is put into effect. In any given sector or organization, various agencies are responsible for the formulation of policies (Keller, 2009). For this reason, the various agencies also take part in the execution of the policies in their respective agencies. Instruments must be put in place for the implementation of certain policies. The instruments are applied reflective of the legislative mandate as well as the bureaucratic interpretation without overlooking the capacity it holds. The implementation of policies after conversions from statements also depends on the target population and society. Tangible experience of the initial effects of the policy must be felt for it to be said viable (Sullivan, 2011).
Government agencies take responsibility of ensuring that policies are implemented even if the service is offered by a private firm. For instance, the government health sector has the responsibility of monitoring the operations in the entire sector (OECD, 2009). This implies that it is the responsibility of government agencies to implement policies at all levels. In addition, institutional entities are held accountable to the public for the administration and result of public policy initiatives. Elected legislative officials have the responsibility of enacting any new policy before handing over its implementation to relevant government bureaucracies (OECD, 20090. In cases where administrative agencies are involved in ruling an agency, elected officials still hold the responsibility to the public for the professional and implementation of the policy efficiently and effectively.
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