Policy Implementation

Topics: Government agency, Administrative law, Policy Pages: 5 (1426 words) Published: February 3, 2014
This essay will discuss the importance of implementation in the policy making process. It will describe the role that governmental agencies play in the implementation process, the affect that implementation has on policy, outline how governmental agencies affect policy through the implementation process and describe what types of factors affect policy implementation.

Before addressing the previously listed issues, it is first necessary to describe what implementation is, specifically in regards to the policy making process. Policy implementation is commonly referred to as “what happens after a bill becomes a law”. As Stage 4 of the five stage policy process, Policy Implementation is defined as “Application of the policy by the government’s administrative machinery” (Anderson, 4). In simpler terms, “implementation encompasses whatever is done to carry a law into effect, to apply it to the target population (for example, small businesses or motorcycle operators), and to achieve its goals” (Anderson, 209).

The importance of implementation in the policy making process cannot be overemphasized. The weeks, months, and sometimes years, that are spent drafting legislation or other policy adoption methods, are all for nothing without proper implementation. Accordingly, “the consequences of implementation for the content or substance of policy, and for its impact and degree of success, are every bit as important as what transpires during the formulation and adoption stages” (Anderson, 210). Actually they may even be more important that what transpired during the other phases in many cases, especially since policies are oftentimes intentionally vague. This is generally necessary to get policy adopted but leaves much interpretation to the implementing agency or system. As a result “administrative agencies often are provided with broad and ambiguous statutory mandates that leave them with much room for choice in deciding what should or should not be done on some matter” (Anderson, 216). Many times the policy that has been adopted is nothing more than guidance to an agency to accomplish some task or achieve some goal although the specific definition of each is not clearly specified. This means that “such statutory mandates are essentially directives to agencies to go out and makes some policy” (217). With such importance placed on the implementation of policy it is important to understand the role that governmental agencies play in the implementation process.

The role played by governmental agencies depends as much on the agency itself as it does the policy as it is understood that “policy implementation is formally the province of a complex array of administrative agencies, now often referred to as bureaucracies (Anderson, 216). These bureaucracies include the legislature, the courts, and numerous agencies under the umbrella of administrative organization.

The legislature devotes much time and resources towards the adoption of policy and thus has a vested interest in making sure the implementation of the policy does not occur in a contrary manner. Although the legislature is not specifically tasked with the administration of policy, they are numerous ways in which they influence the implementation. The legislature reviews current policies through the use of investigations and hearings, through which they use their persuasive power to influence the agency charged with implementation of the policy. The legislature also has influential power when agency heads are installed as they must be approved by the senate. One major way that the legislature can control implementation is through the budgetary process as funds for policy are not always included in original law and must be sought after policy adoption. Budgets can also be changed after the fact. All of these things are ways that the legislature affects policy implementation after adoption but they also affect policy implementation with deliberate specificity in the...

References: Anderson, J. (2011). Public Policymaking. (Seventh ed.). Boston: Wadsworth.
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