Expert spells out policy for politicians

| 20/08/2013

(CNS): Ministers, councillors and political advisors in the new PPM government have been attending a number of workshops on government’s policy framework to ensure the proper development and implementation of policies and so that documents outlining the goals and ambitions of government don’t end up gathering dust on shelves. The workshops are being held by Robert Lewis, the director of the Policy Coordination Unit, who held similar sessions last year with civil service management. Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose, whose office coordinates the development and implementation of government-wide policy, organized the sessions.

“The ultimate aim of policy training is to enhance services to stakeholders and the public by properly developing policies and implementing them effectively,” Rose said in a release from government. “The Cabinet Office is committed to furthering this aim in the public interest and we believe the public will soon start to feel the benefits of this approach.”

Lewis, who holds a master’s degree in Public Policy and Management, said that unless a policy is properly developed, it is likely to be partly implemented, ineffective or shelved. 

Pointing to Vision 2008, a strategic national plan that was only ever partially adopted, as an example, he explained that policies have to be championed and steered by politicians, but buy-in from everyone involved, especially key stakeholders, is very important to policy success and, as a result,, there must be a good balance of stakeholders at the table when policies are created.  A positive example cited is the new disability policy being developed, where people with disabilities and their support organisations are represented on steering and other committees.

Policy could also stall as a result of over-reliance on expert advice, he warned. If local stakeholders find expert opinion less than credible, based on what they know about their context, chances are they won’t support the policy.

Researchers should also explore what some may view as unforeseen consequences, Lewis said. He explained that when forming revenue-based policies, projections versus actual results where the policy was tried elsewhere, the true cost of administering the policy and any altered behavior it would create or loopholes have to be examined before a decision is made to implement.

Lewis said policies should also be reviewed and evaluation by entities other than implementers to make sure that the end results are achieved and to avoid conflict of interest and encourage accountability.

National policies should have action plans, including who is going to do the work, what the scope of the work entails, the resources needed and when results can be expected, he said.  And although national policies may have long term aims, evidence of short-term progress is necessary to show that they are working.

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Category: Politics

Comments (10)

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  1. Bling Man says:

    All I can see from this post is that we got to much POLICY.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What a complete joke

  3. Knot S Smart says:

    And lesson two of the class of 2013 members of the L.A. – We will read the Miller Shaw Report…

  4. Weapons Grade Bollocks says:

    And on and on it goes……..

  5. Anonymous says:

    Robert Lewis is a really nice guy but not a single thing he is quoted as saying in this article is anything other than trite and obvious and certainly not a justification for referring to him as an "expert". Furthermore, everything he said in his presentation has been said many times before and is well known. Our problem here is not lack of knowledge about these things. It is lack of the sheer willpower, hard work and "stickability" to carry things through to the "implementation complete and ongoing assessment in place" stage.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a long serving senior civil servant and I have to say your analysis of the problem in the civil service is dead right Tue 9:37. Mr Lewis was in Planning Dept for many many years and for some reason never got promoted so he quite reasonably went off for many years, more than once, (at very considerable government expense) and got qualified in something to get him out of Planning (Policy Planning blah blah is a good one nowadays). It worked. He's now in the Cabinet Office as their expert. Where is Timothy Hubbell, who is still earning the same $130,000+ salary he was earning in Charles Clifford's ministry when Clifford got rid of him in 2005? Hubbell is supposed to be in the Cabinet Ofice too but no one has a clue what, if anything, he does. He's considered to be like Debbie Drummond and Diane Montoya except he comes to "work" every day. The public really does not know some of the nonsense that goes on and the posters on this site go on and on about supposed anti-Caymanian HR problems that actually are not really genuine problems. It's frustrating for those of us who know what is really happening.

      • Anonymous says:

        So now we're criticizing Caymanians who go away for more schooling to enhance their qualifications? Maybe Robert did not move up in Planning because, like in most government departments, a certain Caymanian was selected years ago  and groomed for the highest position regardless of what other employees had to offer. Robert left the department just one step below the director's position. The current director is there to stay for a while. So Robert is supposed to be satisfied with that? I give Robert cudos for getting off his butt and getting qualifications for a higher job. He found a way to work his way up. You claim to be a senior civil servant. How did you get where you are? You arrived there because you've been there for decades? Did you arrive at your position because of nepotism and favoritism? You certainly can't say that about Robert.

        • Anonymous says:

          Read the poster at 18:56's comment again and note his/her use of the words "quite reasonably" and the sentence they are used in. I do not see that that equals criticism of Mr Lewis or (as you say) "Caymanians who go away for more schooling to enhance their qualifications". So thumbs down to you for poor comprehension skills. On a different topic though connected, I am not a civil servant but I am a Caymanian taxpayer and while I strongly support Government (ie us the taxpayers) assisting qualified young Caymanians to gain their first college degree, I hope Government is no longer funding those who go on to POST graduate study. Though an admirable thing for someone to do, Government (again, we the taxpayers) can no longer afford these benefits.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Its great that the Cabinet Office organises these seminars but please tell the public who attended.

    • Anonymous says:

      The entire government, opposition, back bench, independents, civil servants, attended, in other words we were all there, but we did'nt see you.  Where were you anyway?