Monday, April 14, 2014

Monitoring of Public Policy

The concept of public policy, various models to formulate them, various implementation techniques and the problems associated with them have been studied in the previous chapters. In this chapter various issues related to the monitoring of public policy will be considered. If the monitoring is effective then it can ensure the achievement of objectives in the expected time frames. The objective of monitoring is to see whether the resources are being used as efficiently as possible and in the same way as was intentioned to achieve the objectives of public policy. It is done as the implementation of public policy progresses.

Monitoring does not mean “control”, it means a process of “observing” and to see that implementation progresses with proper resource utilization. It serves as an important feedback for the management as the management can take corrective action if things don’t proceed the way they were planned. Experience shows that effective monitoring results in substantial cost reduction, time saving and effective resource utilization.

Models for Monitoring Public Policy

The various models/approaches employed in the monitoring of public policies are:

1. Managerial Approach

This approach is the dominant paradigm in the realm of public policies. This has especially been the case after public sector has also adopted many of the techniques employed in the private sector and a need for “market friendly” government is felt widely. Some of these techniques are:

  • Activity Bar Chart

  • Planning-Programming   and Budgeting System (PPBS)

  • Critical Path Method (CPM)

  • Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

2. Systems Approach

While adopting this approach, the ‘implementation gaps’ are analysed in the context of a ‘system’. This system as a whole is responsible for the delivery of the programmes and services. Systems Approach lays adequate stress on teamwork and emphasizes co- ordination and co-operation to achieve the objectives of public policies.

3. Formative Approach

Monitoring is “formative evaluation” of the implementation process of the programmes according to this view. Its feedback is then given to the administration. Techniques such as Management Information Systems (MIS) can be helpful in this evaluation of implementation and creating channels for timely feedback. Computerisation assisted by MIS system helps a lot in proper functioning of this model.

4. Performance Measurement Approach

The performance indicators can be measured from time to time for various parameters to know the deviation of the implementation progress from the desired levels. It helps in knowing the efficiency and effectiveness of the policy delivery. The concept of performance indicators can go a long way in improving the performance of governmental institutions especially in social sector because ‘profit’ is not a criterion of measuring its efficiency as is done by the private sector.

Problems Faced in Policy Monitoring

Some of the constraints faced while monitoring the implementation of public policies are :

  • Monitoring of Public PolicyImplementation system may be poorly designed which leads to severe problems in monitoring.

  • Generally there is lack of time for implementing various schemes. Often shortcuts are resorted to. Monitoring becomes difficult in such a case.

  • Limited corrective actions are there at the disposal of the agencies if they find any discrepancy in implementation.

  • There remains lack of clarity about the roles to be performed by the various actors. Awareness is also found to be lacking in the implementing agencies about monitoring techniques.

  • There should be proper communication among the various agencies. For example, the Secretary of a Department or Director of a Programme should seek periodic reports from their staff about the progress achieved in the various aspects.

  • The monitoring criteria should be clearly understood in terms of the time, cost and technical performance indicators.

  • The monitoring staff needs to be competent. Their capabilities, commitment and behaviour matters a lot while monitoring the programmes.

  • Based on the monitoring reports and feedbacks, the administration should take corrective action otherwise the process of monitoring loses its significance.

Monitoring is one of the most important aspects of policy management which requires a great deal of co-ordination and planning. To ensure that the various resources like human resources, material resources and financial resources are utilized to their maximum potential it is of utmost importance to have a robust monitoring system for the public policies.


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