The Policy Cycle…Sort of.

In my early weeks of studying PP5111 – Introduction to Public Policy and Policy Analysis, we learned something called the policy cycle (sketch below). At first I took it for granted and couldn’t care less about the whole thing because it seemed so simple and logical – why would anyone need to learn about it? Well, after graduation and entering into the workforce again – and this time around being on the government side – I have come to my senses that policymakers often forget about the policy cycle. Mostly, they don’t take seriously the monitoring and evaluation part.

Theoretically speaking, policy monitoring and evaluation ensures that the outcome of the policy is directed into the right beneficiaries and if there’s anything wrong with the policy (the design, how it’s implemented, etc.), it can be corrected so the problem you’re trying to solve in the beginning gets solved, instead of creating another set of problems.

Two months into my job, the core task of our unit (apart from other tasks as well) is exactly the monitoring part – ultimately to make sure that the development programs set by the President gets delivered by the end of his period, or to report why it’s not delivered if that’s the case. The learning curve have been steep, but so far I have gained so much knowledge and lessons learned, mostly the dos and don’ts of the many policies in the Indonesian government and understanding the inherent implementation difficulties in our current institutional setting.

And so, the lack of posts in this blog for the past two months is because I’m finding it hard to squeeze the very tight amount of free time that I have into blogging. Commuting back and forth to my workplace have also taken quite a bit of energy (I don’t drive to the office and take the public transport) so during the weekends I use my time to get some Zzzz. Now I’ve finally found my rhythm and hopefully can get back to my regular blogging cycle soon.

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5 thoughts on “The Policy Cycle…Sort of.”

  1. I’ve been here :). I mean as management consultant I had the pleasure of advising government administrators, officials and civil servants. The cynical catchphrase we often used was: ‘Is this policy or have it been given some rational thinking?”.

    I guess your unit’s job is a very difficult one.

    While policy makers usually are mainly focussed on the setting of goals and starting the process ( ex ante), they tend to loose interest once these decisions have been taken.Yet it’s extremely important to keep an eye on what comes next ( ex post).

    In my professional experience however the goals politicians ( and other decision makers) set often ( always?) are not specific and concrete. That’s unintentionally sometimes but on purpose most of the time. So it is very hard and occasionally next to impossible to monitor and measure the results of the actions and money which have been spent.because of this vagueness. And, of course, the people in power and responsible are likely to file reports out of hand if the content is not welcome..

    ( It – up to a limit – can be done though. Over the years an independent agency, the Netherlands Court of Audit, with a lot of authority and substantial power, has been developed.}

    1. I’m thinking of making it into a journal paper…I can send you the soft copy via email for comments.

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