Transcript: The Integrated Policy Framework
[Text and graphics illustrate and emphasize the spoken words throughout.]
Narrator: Integrated Policy Framework.
There are many different ways the public policy process can be represented.
Here is a typical conceptual representation, where the different steps are represented in a circular manner, in the form of a policy cycle.
[Arrows form a circle as steps pop up one by one around it.]
Issue identification and definition, policy research and analysis, generating policy solutions and alternatives, consultation, developing policy proposals, policy implementation, and policy monitoring and evaluation.
[A graphic of an hourglass has a circle in the middle. As steps are listed, they appear, moving down the hourglass from its top.]
Here is the typical hourglass model of the policy process, which better illustrates how policy is lived. It starts with policy research at the top — where you ask questions about what's happening in the world — and you go down to development of the policy options — the 'so what' of public policy — and further down to advice — of the options, what should the government do — to decision-making — the act of deciding what to do — and then to implementation and evaluation.
Each of these things is done in turn, in order to make for good public policy.
[Arrows appear on the right, labelled "support function." They point from the top of the hourglass to the bottom.]
The support function of central agencies makes sure the departments, agencies and ministers are taken through this cycle in a linear way to ensure good decision making.
[Arrows appear on the left, labelled "challenge function." They point from the bottom of the hourglass to the top.]
And the challenge function ensures that at every step of the way, the previous steps have been completed.
The question for this type of classical model is: are we able to do this faster and also follow an issue through all parts of the policy process?
In general, we have divided policy into teams or shops that are research, policy, decision-making, implementation, and evaluation.
But today's environment requires faster decision making, a more iterative and agile process and more open public policy.
Policy practitioners today deal with new realities, such as: increased public expectations, more diversity and inclusion of viewpoints, the speed and volume of information, and a decline in trust in institutions and government.
This, plus open government, collaboration and new partnerships, and the need for continuous learning makes policy work challenging.
And so, in some cases, the hourglass model is too slow, too compartmentalized, or too rigid and must evolve.
[A new graphic shows a pair of glasses with people in the lenses. Policy steps sit around the rims. Small arrows point back and forth from the policy steps to the people. At the nose-bridge of the glasses a circle reads "People, Evidence and Outcomes."]
Here is a more integrated model that contains the same elements. It involves users and people more centrally, which emphasizes the importance of evidence, and encourages us to think about policy as an integrated whole rather than a series of compartmentalized steps.
Let's build up this new model for integrated policy.
[The full graphic zips away, and just the center circle appears. As the narrator names them, each element adds back in.]
Starting with what we know to be very important: People, Evidence and Outcomes.
When it comes to people, we refer to people we serve, which is why the government exists, as well as to the people we need to work with inside and outside the government.
To promote the public interest, and for our work as public servants to be credible, we need to use and rely on evidence.
When it comes to outcomes, to provide value and remain relevant to Canadians, we must focus on the public good we are trying to achieve.
Now we add the six functions:
- Research & Analysis
- Policy Options
- Design & Plan
- Implement & Monitor
These learning loops refer to what you're trying and learning in your function, as well as what you're learning and importing from the other functions.
The two decision points, instigate and approve, refer to the government of the day or the departmental level.
[A power button labelled "Instigate" and a checkmark labelled "Approve" pop in above and below the "People, Evidence and Outcomes" circle.]
We can think of the three functions to the left, as policy development. They are: Research and Analysis, Options and Advice.
The three functions to the right are policy delivery. They are: Design and Plan, Implement and Monitor, and Evaluate.
Now we add arrows to remind us that we engage all the time with the people we serve — users and citizens — and with the people we work with — colleagues and partners.
Engagement is not a single step; it happens throughout the process.
The final piece in completing this new model are these glasses, as a reminder to look in at the people, evidence and outcomes…to look out, connecting with a broader context…...and finally to look across, at different policy functions and leverage the learning and insights.
Let's take a look at an example of the new model at work.
In this first example, we illustrate the importance of interdependencies and breaking down silos between functions.
[Dotted lines appear between the policy steps circling the glasses.]
If you're formulating policy options, you want to know what has been done before and how effective it was, connecting with the evaluation function.
Your organisation has received approval for a new policy...
That policy also requires new money, but during the budget process, only partial funding was provided.
Therefore, your organisation cannot deliver on the full policy intention.
In this case, the department might want to go back to the advice phase and do one of two things: One, create a more compelling case, and on that basis, seek funding again. Or two, narrow down the scope, or revise the policy intention, and seek approval.
Using the analogy of the glasses, we now need to bring the two halves of the policy cycle together: policy development and policy delivery.
If you have a well conceived, well-developed policy, but it cannot be operationalized, then you are going to have poor policy outcomes.
What do we do?
If you're developing policy or giving advice, connect with those who are on the delivery side, to ensure that implementation is feasible.
This is an opportunity for those who work on policy delivery, to also consider the policy development side.
You may be doing excellent execution but if the policy is poorly understood, that will lead to poor policy outcomes.
If you are on the delivery side, here are a few things you can do:
Ask: Do I have a really good grasp of the policy intention? Is what and how I'm delivering, meeting the objective of the policy? What insights am I gaining that could be shared with those who are developing the policy?
Whether you work in policy development or policy delivery, we want to underscore the importance that as policy practitioners, we all have a degree of influence.
Every analyst can get curious, ask questions, and reach out to colleagues during the policy cycle.
You can say: "I noticed your group on the organizational chart; I suspect we work on different parts of the policy process. I'd love to connect and know your work a little bit better."
And finally, remember to put on your 'policy glasses' and:
Look in, keeping the elements in the middle in view: people, evidence and outcomes.
Look out, connecting with the bigger picture and the bigger context.
And look across at the other policy functions — integrating and connecting them together.
[The CSPS logo appears, it's book closing. Text reads "canada.ca/school."]
[The Government of Canada logo appears, fading to black.]