Beyond the Policy Cycle
The policy process in Australia
It is common (and comforting) to see public policy as the result of careful craft work by expert officials who recognise a problem, identify and evaluate possible responses, and choose the most appropriate strategy the policy cycle'. The reality is more complex and challenging. Many hands are involved in policy-making, not all of them official, they are not all addressing the same problem, they have different ideas about what would be a good answer, and the process is rarely brought to a neat close by a clear decision. The development of policy can resemble firefighting, with players rushing to react to demands for action in areas that are already in crisis, or it can be a less frenetic process of weaving, as they search for an outcome which reflects the concerns of all the stakeholders. Effective participation in the policy process calls for a clear understanding of this complexity and ambiguity.
Beyond the Policy Cycle sets policy in this wider context. It recognises that participants in the process are drawn from both government and diverse areas outside government, and looks not at a model' process but rather at how the game is played: how issues rise to prominence, who is actually doing the work, and exactly what it is that they are doing.
With detailed Australian case studies, and examining the implications of recent trends in policy such as the outsourcing of service provision, Beyond the Policy Cycle offers students and practitioners a critical and engaged look at the activity of policy that reflects the reality of the policy experience.
Table of Contents
1. Mapping the work of policy (H. K. Colebatch)
Part One: Organisational complexity and policy work
2. Non-government organisations in policy (Sue Keen)
3. Bringing in the community sector (Linda Hancock)
4. Parliamentary committees as an arena for policy work (Ian Holland)
5. Creating a focus for policy (Daniel Connell and H.K. Colebatch)
Part Two: The widening policy arena: public participation in policy
6. Engaging citizens to solve major public policy challenges (Richard Curtain)
7. Participatory policy-making for sustainability (Kate Crowley)
Part Three: The new gatekeepers
8. Ministerial staff (Geoff Anderson)
9. From control to networks (Martin Stewart-Weeks)
Part Four: Discourse, context and conflict in policy
10. Informing policy through integrated information (Fiona McKenzie)
11. Policy research and organisational demands (Richard Denniss)
12. Busy little workers': pol
Hal K.Colebatch has taught and researched public policy and administration in Australia, Papua New Guinea, East Africa and Southeast Asia, and is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Clinical Management Development, University of Durham and a member of the School of Social Science and Policy at the University of New South Wales. He is Vice-Chair of the International Political Science Association's Research Committee on Public Policy and Administration, and his widely-used Policy (Open University Press) has been translated into three languages.