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JSB178 Week 7 Lecture Notes.docx

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Queensland University of Technology
Mark Lauchs

JSB178 Week Seven Lecture Notes Policy Analysis What is Policy Analysis?  Involves researching an issue and alternatives so that the decision maker has all the information necessary to make an informed decision.  This usually carried out by: o Internal policy unit which specialises in policy development from a non-political perspective. o Ministerial policy advisors whose job it is to consider the political aspects of the alternatives available. Rational Comprehensive Model  Where a problem is identified and defined.  The values, goals and objectives of those making the decision are made explicit and ranked in priority order.  All options that could achieve the goal are identified.  The costs and benefits of each option are made explicit.  The costs and benefits of each option are then compared.  With information about costs and benefits, the decision maker can choose the option that best achieves their values, goals and objectives. Example:  Problem: Magistrates approach Minister to obtain personal use vehicles.  Values (boundaries for the policy developer): The department cannot afford it; they cannot get as good a remuneration package as the District Court judges.  Options: Do not give it to them; give cars as a salary sacrifice; give cars as a bonus.  Costs and Benefits: Who will be upset if the Magistrates are given cars; how much will it cost?  Comparison: Make a recommendation of the preferred option.  Send the recommendation to the Minster who makes a political decision to placate Magistrates and meet the budget. Problems with the Rational Comprehensive Model  The values and goals are not always clear (see the Wicked Problems below).  Decision making is rarely rational or comprehensive i.e. politics must be given high consideration.  Time and resources do not allow for a comprehensive analysis – in the Magistrates example we had only two weeks and one quarter of the time of one staff member.  Some problems simply are not important enough at the time they arise to warrant full attention e.g. no one studied schoolyard bullying in World War II. Rationality as a Masculine Concept  Some complain that rationality is ‘inherently biased, self-legitimising and inaccurate’.  In what way could this be true?  What is the difference between being rational and having rationality?  What is the alternative?  Rationality is important for justification and communication. Formulating a Problem  How do you identify what the problem is?  Departments tend to think within their boundaries and place the problem within their existing regime.  Whole-of-government committees and consultation is necessary to give it full application.  Many agencies exclude themselves from a problem by stating that it is outside of their core business or portfolio e.g. aboriginal interpreters. Clarifying Issues  How did the situation arise?  Who is affected by this issue and why?  What do the main players in the field say about this issue?  Are there data suggesting trends?  Do local or international studies indicate the probable trajectory of this issue?  Can the problem be broken into smaller parts and dealt with as a series of related issues?  Are there existing problems or processes that can be applied to the problem?  To whom within the government does this problem belong? Global vs. Agency Outcomes  Global outcomes are used as the basis of determining outcomes for your policy/project.  Do not choose an outcome and see how it fits into global goals.  Identify ‘outputs’ – physical, identifiable, measurable results – tied to the outcome.  What would the outcome of the courts be? Decision Parameters  Basic parameters include: o Government objectives o Resources o Time constraints o Priority of the issue  These are usually set for the policy officer, especially in relation to objectives and resources.  The major uncertainty relating to resources is the inability to ensure additional funding for small projects as treasury will only take applications of over $250 000.  Time constraints and priority are vulnerable to the political environment e.g. if a crisis related to the policy arises, the project becomes more important and has to be finished faster. Alternatives  Easy method o Retain the status quo o Do the opposite o Find a middle ground  Other sources o Find out what other jurisdictions are doing (in practice this is one of the first things you do) o Determine “international best practice” (be careful) o Look at recent reviews and reports recommendations o Look at academic journals (rarely done in practice) o Consult with experts outside government o Consult with clients  Model each alternative so they
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