Involvement in regulation and policy making
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The Centre for Management and Policy Studies' Better Policy Making

5 INCLUSIVE

The policy-making process takes account of the impact on and/or meets the needs of all people directly or indirectly affected by the policy; and involves key stakeholders directly. An inclusive approach may include the following aspects:

• Consults those responsible for service delivery/implementation

• Consults those at the receiving end or otherwise affected by the policy

• Carries out an impact assessment

• Seeks feedback on policy from recipients and front line deliverers

In addition to the rather obvious claim for better policy-making resulting in better public services, the Modernising Government White Paper also suggests that modern approaches can foster broader involvement of the public in the decision-making process, encourage greater citizenship and better exploit creativity and diversity in organisations and communities.

 

HM Treasury: The Green Book: Appraisal & Evaluation in Central Government

2.17 Appraisals and evaluations should therefore be carried out collaboratively wherever possible between stakeholders, but lead responsibilities need to be well defined, and accountability for accuracy and thoroughness clearly understood.
5.4 The range of options depends on the nature of the objectives. For a major programme, a wide range should be considered before short-listing for detailed appraisal. Both new and current policies, programmes and projects should be included as options. At the early stages, it is usually important to consult widely, either formally or informally, as this is often the best way of creating an appropriate set of options.
5.79 In practice, the weight to give to factors that are thought to be important by key players cannot be decided by ‘experts’. They inevitably incorporate the judgements of stakeholders and decision makers. The risk that they are weighted towards acceptance of more expensive solutions by those who would enjoy the potential benefits should be tempered by at least one stakeholder representing the opportunities that an expensive solution would be foregone elsewhere.
6.6 In practice, other factors will also affect the selection of the best option, in particular the consideration of unvalued costs and benefits. Fully involving stakeholders is very important in making judgements between monetised and non-monetised effects.
6.13 Consultation with external experts and with those affected is very important at this stage, whether or not formal or informal consultation has taken place earlier on.
6.14 Consultation on projects will usually be on one or two lead proposals; whereas consultation on policy and programme proposals that have more widespread effects should usually be undertaken both earlier, and on a wide range of options and alternatives.
6.15 Analysis of who is affected by a proposal, undertaken as part of the appraisal, may be very useful in determining who should be consulted, and also in considering the details of implementation. Attention should be drawn to the key assumptions, options and implementation issues. Consultation exercises should be drawn up in line with the following best practice guidelines [3]:

  • Use the most appropriate approach. Written consultation may not the best way to canvass views on a policy or project option. Methods include meetings with interested parties and user surveys.
  • Consultation should be easy to respond to (e.g., by electronic means).
  • Check if statutory obligations apply.
  • Allow sufficient time; consultation should be built into the planning process at the start.
  • Be clear about who is being consulted, about what, in what time-scale, for what purpose.
  • Consider joining up with other consultations, for instance in other government departments.
  • Consultation documents should be clear, concise and focused.
  • Ensure that the process reaches the target audience.
  • Ensure that people are told the results, and the reasons for decisions taken.