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State Reform: The Public Policy Approach

Eugenio Lahera P.

The analytical basis of public policy is discussed in order to develop criteria with which to improve government management in addition to state reform. The concept of public policy is considered; origin, drafting, management, and assessment are defined, and how appropriate the realistic implementation of this approach is.

In the introduction, reference is made to good government features, including leadership and interaction with the society and the political system. In the medium term, there is no government in the absence of good public policy, and such should meet a number of requirements. For these purposes, two different styles or schools appear. Although necessary and complementary in nature, they cannot be mixed, since each one has its own applications. The former refers to policy framework, while the latter is related to enhancement of each particular policy. It is most important to take precedence over the policies upon which co-ordination work will be focused. The second part of this paper elaborates on the concept of public policy and states that this is a course of action or information flow related to a public aim. Based on this, objectives, actors, institutional aspects, and analytical issues of public policy are considered. The adoption of an approach defining the following stages is proposed: origin of public policy, how public policies can be made, government management and assessment of public policies.

The last part of this paper provides some remarks on how government management can be best understood from the approach of the various stages of public policy, since good management is substantial in governance. There are strengths and weaknesses in such an approach. These weaknesses include the fact that there is a temptation to implement it in any way whatsoever. It`s strengths include the possibility of improving analysis and operational features of public policy. Based on the foregoing, the approach to the stages of public policy should be analysed in general terms, but should be implemented on a case by case basis. This means that attention should be paid to certain policies at one time rather than all at once. Also, each reality should be studied in order to see what and how policies may be improved with regard to drafting, management and assessment. There are important differences among countries, as well as among ranks and duties and responsibilities of states, governments and other public sector bodies. In order to improve the quality of government in the region, realism and integration on public policy matters is needed. In this way, the so-called state reforms will take place.

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