Policy implementation and evaluation essays

A policy evaluation is the last step in the policy-making process, after agenda setting, policy formulation, decision making, and implementation. It refers to the use of empirical social science research methods to assess the success or failure of policies for feedback or termination. A policy evaluation can be conducted within a government, by nongovernmental organizations NGOs , by think tanks, or by researchers in academia. The purpose of an evaluation is to determine the effectiveness of a policy. In other words, an evaluation must ascertain the extent to which a policy has reached its stated, as well as its unstated, objectives.

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Conclusions about this can only be reached through the solid understanding of the logic or theory underlying the policy. Responsiveness to the policy, or the way it is being received by the targeted audience, are also part of a thorough evaluation. In order to measure efficiency, some form of cost-benefit analysis is most often employed. When considering efficiency, the evaluation may also refer to the efficiency of the policy process itself and focus particularly on implementation.

Policy evaluations can be done using either qualitative or quantitative research methods or a combination of both. In this study, innovation is defined broadly as the creation and use of new, better, more effective, and more acceptable products, technologies, processes, and ideas [ 8 ]. Innovation systems require deliberate development and embedding within country-specific institutional and technological contexts [ 11 , 12 ].

The WHO framework for health research systems acknowledges that health research systems overlap with health systems and other research systems to varying extents depending on the context [ 14 ]. Policy implementation can be considered as the process of carrying out a government decision [ 6 ]. In defining policy implementation, many scholars have found it useful to make the conceptual distinction between the policy implementation process and policy outcomes, even though these are interactive in practice [ 15 ].

The implementation process involves action on behalf of the policy, whereas policy outcomes refer to the ultimate effect on the policy problem. Implementation is an iterative process in which ideas, expressed as policy, are transformed into behaviour, expressed as social action [ 6 ].


The social action transformed from the policy is typically aimed at social betterment and most frequently manifests as programmes, procedures, regulations, or practices. Implementation has long been recognised as a distinct stage in the policy process, unique for representing the transformation of a policy idea or expectation to action aimed at remedying social problems [ 15 ]. Reflecting a process involving change over time, implementation is characterised by the actions of multiple levels of agencies, institutions, organisations, and their actors and is influenced by context throughout.

Understanding the policy implementation process is important in part because many social programmes are publicly funded, and they are initiated and influenced by public policy. Assessing policy or programme implementation is also important for informing on-going decision making and exploring the extent of achievement of targets as well as how things can be done differently in more effective and impactful ways.

There is a growing body of evidence on developing country research for health systems in general and African research for health systems in particular. For empirical insights in Africa see, for example, Kalua et al. They divert from the conceptual model of a linear process where evidence is generated, findings are made available, and eventually decisions are influenced. In reality, the process of evidence translation into decision-making within government or other institutions is rather more complex [ 5 ].

However, with a few exceptions, such as that of Mugabe [ 3 ], the majority of the studies and documents focus on the policymaking process itself. They study how policymaking is influenced by such a non-linear process characterised by negotiations among multiple actors, with their impact on knowledge uptake. This paper focuses specifically on the implementation of research and innovation for health policies unpacking, among others, the role of national and institutional contextual factors, policy content, and approaches.

Key Differences Between Monitoring and Evaluation

It does not seek to judge the content of the policies or propose alternative ones, but rather focuses on the process and context of successful policy implementation. We used both qualitative and quantitative methods to generate insight on policy availability and implementation and reviewed documents and reports.

We gathered stakeholder insights, perceptions, and awareness of barriers to and facilitators of policy implementation through questionnaire-led interviews. Thematic analysis guided by themes emerging from the findings was employed for interrogating and analysing the data [ 23 ].

Between April and July , a total of 34 questionnaires were emailed to the R4HA programme partners and other stakeholders who were not only a convenient sample, but are strategic and key actors in the health arena in the study countries. These are people who are either tasked with policy implementation or directly affected by such implementation. The mix of interviewees enabled views of different aspects of the policy process to be received.

The successful uptake or implementation of policies was based, rather than on key indicators, upon the perceptions and subjective experiences of this group of interviewees. Twenty-one respondents acknowledged receipt of the study questionnaire and expressed willingness to participate in the study.

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Finally, 16 respondents took part in the study, with 9 self-completing the questionnaire, while telephone or Skype interviews guided by the questionnaire were held with 7 respondents. The literature search resulted in a number of key documents on research for health and innovation in the three countries. A variety of policies and strategies were identified in areas such as industry, higher education, science, technology and innovation, and information and communications technology, all of which can have an impact on health.

The table also lists the national constitutions, which have a provision for the right to health, though the extent to which health is covered varies per country. Reasons given include lack of adequate financial and human resource support; the reactive nature in which activities are implemented; limited attention to evaluation of the systems; information overload and asymmetries; and problems with managing overlaps and how to move from silos to systems. One respondent from Mozambique summed it up as:.

While some respondents felt the implementation problem was a result of poor policies and strategies being crafted in the first place, the general argument appears to be that, if there is adequate preparedness and facilitation to implement, better outcomes can be obtained. Better implementation of policies is more likely to have a bigger impact on other components of the process which as one respondent from Tanzania remarked:. Policy adoption was also rated as receiving a fair amount of attention. On the other hand, policy evaluation, like policy implementation, was said to be poor for reasons including lack of dedicated resources for policy evaluation and limited direct usage of results from evaluation activities.

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Half of the respondents identified this state of affairs as problematic, stating that accountability and transparency trustworthiness, openness, and confidence in the systems accruing from evaluation were significantly important for all stages of the policy process, including having the potential to stimulate better policy implementation. Meanwhile, the source of the resources for the different stages of the policy process was said to have a major bearing on the extent to which the policies got implemented.

In Mozambique, resources from the government and other local sources were said to be more effective in implementation of long-term capacity building for both their health sector strategic plan and the science, technology, and innovation strategy than external donor resources. Contextual realities are important for policy implementation efforts.

The contextual issues relating to the policy process have at best remained the same, but in most cases, they have worsened. Stakeholder engagement and political leadership in policy processes is said to have improved over the last few years in all three countries, but as respondents from Senegal and Tanzania noted, this has not necessarily resulted in increased budget allocations. Policy coherence synergy and mutual reinforcement between policies was said to have decreased over the same period.

Stakeholder involvement in policymaking processes has increased. This is particularly true for the policy development stage, where across the three countries, government departments, external donors, academic institutions, civil society organisations, and even private companies appear to play active roles. The number of actors was said to decrease at stages such as financing, implementation, and evaluation of policies. Coordination and ensuring an even spread of players along the policy process were said to be weak, leading to incoherencies and dissipation of resources.

While different organisations and people, including consultants, were said to play roles in coordination of implementation of policies, there was consensus that governments should be central in this so that alignment to overall national development goals can be ensured.

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According to one respondent from a government agency in Senegal:. In addition to strengthening of government policy oversight capacity, governments are also said to be in need of stakeholder support that is consistent and long-term. To this end, incentives to garner and sustain stakeholder support are needed, and they need to be continuously monitored to ensure their impact on policy implementation. There is a need to view and do things differently.

As one respondent from Tanzania noted:. The will alone is not enough. Respondents alluded to a number of challenges that remain to be tackled for policy implementation to improve, and some lessons that have been learnt from concluded and on-going efforts. There is a need to strengthen government institutions at various levels to enable them to perform this function.

This also entails channelling resources through them, but as one respondent from Mozambique noted:. The results show that implementation of research and innovation policies and strategies for health are influenced by institutional, sectoral, and national contexts. Three key themes emerge from the research: content, context, and approaches. This study confirms that analysis of policy processes involves more than seeking an understanding of the mechanics of decision-making and implementation, but requires an unpacking of the underlying health priorities, policy content, and context, and the approaches to implementation of the policies [ 24 ].

The content, context, and approaches of the policy processes are products of issue framing, which is the way in which boundaries are drawn around problems, how policy problems are defined, and what is included and excluded. While problems and solutions related to health systems immediately lead to a focus around disease problems and proposed solutions through health delivery systems, the findings of this study confirm that the problems also encompass broader questions about health system organisation, and new forms of social, political, or economic arrangements [ 5 ].

Understanding and addressing these broader dynamics is necessary if policies for research and innovation in health are to be implemented effectively. Health systems are complex and embedded in rules-based institutional arrangements, while sustained through social norms and informal practices [ 4 ]. This note proposes some ways forward. This booklet presents several examples from Bolivia, the Philippines and Argentina of group- or NGO-based impact monitoring. This short booklet is written for leaders or members of self-help groups and describes how group-based impact monitoring works in a simple and easily understandable style.

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Difference Between Monitoring and Evaluation (with Comparison Chart) - Key Differences

This booklet on NGO-based impact monitoring is addressed to staff members of development organisations, i. It explains how NGO-based impact monitoring works in a simple, illustrated and easy-to-understand manner. Web page of the International Water and Sanitation Centre IRC with several publications on water supply systems operation and maintenance.

This website contains a collection of training material intended to assist practitioners in helping low-income communities to overcome poverty, emphasizing methods and principles, not theory. One of the modules deals with the community project resources, including project proposals. Training module on participatory community monitoring and evaluation.

Although designed for the training needs of all categories of local functionaries associated with the decentralisation process in India, the handbook provides guidance on core issues in institutional capacity building for local development planning, which are, to a large degree, similar in other developing countries within the region. IRC Sanitation Pack, SanPack for short, contains an overview of available methods, techniques and tools in a low-cost, non-sewered sanitation service model, including participatory approaches. It is a reference guide containing links to relevant documents explaining the different stages in the sanitation cycle.

The tool considers the sustainability of institutional, management, financial, technical and environmental factors. You want to stay up to date about water entrepreneurship? Leonellha Barreto Dillon seecon international gmbh. Executive Summary. Involving beneficiaries in evaluation increases its reliability and provides the opportunity to receive useful feedback and ideas for corrective actions.

Increases the motivation of stakeholders to contribute ideas to corrective actions. Needs skilled facilitator to ensure everyone understands the process and is equally involved. Can be dominated by strong voices in the community for example, men dominating women in discussions, political, cultural or religious leaders dominating discussions and decision making. Those responsible for implementation of certain projects may not want the administration or public to learn about failures or mistakes due to a fear of disciplinary action.