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How do social problems become policy problems? Discuss with reference to any specific area of public policy (Coursework Sample)

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How do social problems become policy problems? Discuss with reference to any specific area of public policy. The sample is about public policy in the UK with special reference to public hospitals.

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How do social problems become policy problems? Discuss with reference to any specific area of public policy.
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Introduction
The role of policy makers, mostly governments have been steadily evolving and changing with an increasing emphasis directed at setting out a general direction through strategic policy planning while engaging all the stakeholders and the citizens to deliver effectively in all its programs and services
Public Policy
Public policy is a proposed intended course of action of either a person group of people or the government within a specific environment providing obstacles, chances or opportunities within the proposed policy which it utilizes to overcome in a sustained effort to achieve a specific goal or realize certain objective or purpose. (Dunn, 2008)
A public policy acts as a guide to present future decisions that have been selected in a view of certain conditions from many other alternatives, the proposed decision or a number of proposed decisions that have been designed to implement the intended course of actions i.e. a projected designed program that consists of the given objectives and the proposed means of achieving them. (John, 2000)
Case sturdy, British health Services and the social problems.
For instance, in Britain the NHS makes all the decisions about the ownership and management of health care providers. In the early 1990s, the hospitals and all the other providers of health were under the Health authorities that designed all the all the national health policies to be implemented by the health providers. The 2000 NHS plan contained a number of critical proposals but most of them needed the utmost support of the central government to be fully implemented. Most public policies arise because of a certain need from the society. By the year 2002, the British department of health policies of highly centralized management was becoming a liability in the provision of health services in the country, it reached a point where the secretary of state had to explain to the public the general conditions of specific hospitals that were highly mismanaged and an alternative policy was adopted that created radical reforms in the NHS which included the self-governing organizations and the extra use of incentives.(Bosanquet, 2008) For example, hospitals that perfected their operations would be allowed to apply to become members of the NHS foundation trusts. (Department of Health, 2002)
A public policy is simply a decision that has been made by the government to guide any other actions in the same or similar situation or circumstances. Government policies are mostly referred to as public policies as their set of decisions and actions guide the whole society in general. These public policies are initiated and developed by the provincial, municipal, federal or even territorial levels of government. (Bardach, 2000)
Policy matters are normally divided into two main categories i.e. the policies that are already on the public policy discussions or agendas and those that have not been formulated or even discussed. These are the social problems before they actually become public policy issues. A social problem affects the whole community before it’s debated to become a public policy. When these policy issues have found their way into the public policy formal agenda, then they gain a higher profile and the formal process is most likely to follow unlike when it’s not on the proposed public policy agenda.(Brewer, Garry and deLeon, 1983) Whenever there is a problem or an issue that has not been ratified and it’s not on the general public domain, it’s the duty of all the stakeholders and also the general community to educate others within themselves provides information and takes all the necessary steps after educating most of the community, to have it listed on the agenda. For an issue to qualify and be able to stand out in all the processes and eventually become a public policy then it must have the following. One, it must have sufficient and logical scope i.e. it must be affecting a good fraction of the people or the community, it must also have a high intensity i.e. the magnitude of its impact must be high and it must have been an issue for a long period of time. (Gerston, 1997) A number of problems may trigger the development of public policy whose response can either be reactive, as in most cases or preactive or proactive.
Policy development becomes reactive when it literally reacts or responds to issues and other factors that have emerged mostly with very little notice or warning from either external or even internal environment. (Pollitt and Bouckaert, 2004) These may be by listening and solving problems or issues, allocating resources i.e. either fiscal or natural resources, reactions to emergencies or major catastrophes or emergencies among other reactionary measures.(Ferlie, Lynn and Pollitt, 2007) Policy development can also be preactive i.e. it reacts or responds to those triggers that are already recognized because the operating environment is usually scanned and potential issues and other factors are indentified before they occur i.e. the issues are already predicted before they occur and mitigation and contingency matters are already in place before they occur. (Bovaird and Löffler, 2009) This is done by making strategic decisions, choices, risk management, planning and setting the right priorities. Formal policies are rarely proactive when it comes to their developments. The nature of developing a policy is such that most of the key and majority of the major decisions only reflect little changes to the existing status quo. The challenges that are connected to or associated with the development of an integrated policy needs a big and broader picture, a general system perspective that can be able to identify and address all the root causes or other symptoms. These policies can be driven by politicians, powerful stakeholders, lobby groups, community leaders, departments and many other bureaucratic committees. (Baldwin and Cave, 1999)
In Britain, the Foundation trust in the health department were introduced as governance models with very important characteristics enacted in the constitution under the health and social care Act of 2003.(HM Government, 2003) These were established for the benefit of the public. They were to provide accountability among the staff and the patients and the local people. They were independent units and they could even form joint ventures and other related business. Over time the UK government tailored more policies to streamline the health sector as the Foundation Trusts continued to evolve. ( Lynn, 2006)
Public policies can be divided into two major categories. Vertical policy is mostly developed by companies that have the authority and the means to implement their decisions. The horizontal policy popularly known as the integrated policy is normally developed by two or even more organizations with abilities to implement only portions of the integrated processes or policies.
The key factors that need to be considered when developing a public policy are, the public interest i.e. is the public policy for the interest of the public or the society, is the process inclusive and is it balanced i.e. between special interest and private interest. The public policy must also be very effective in achieving its stated goals and objective. It also has to be efficient and consistent while representing fairness and equity. It must also be politically and socially acceptable. It must be based on a foundation of values that have been acknowledged and discussed in a democratic process by the society. (Bickford, 1996)
Policy development takes the form of six stages i.e. Problem definition, goal or objective clarification, option generation and selection, implementation and finally evaluation. Problem definition involves the recognition of the existence of a problem that requires situational analysis. This is followed by the real problem definition and the determination of all priorities.
For instance in an effort to of achieving equity of access to adequate and appropriate clinical care for all citizens in all sectors regardless of income disparities or professional qualification or status in the society in all public hospitals in the UK, a policy was introduced within the larger system of public facilities and responsibilities for all public health services and were connected to all other health services to the public at the lower levels. (Healy & McKee, 2002) The importance of the primary health care in all public hospitals rendered their development to be critical in their major objective of becoming an equal provider of public health services. (Saltman, Rico, and Boerma, 2006) Also there were also some discussions concerning the integration of chronic and other elderly care and medical coverage services in all primary care public hospitals (Nolte and Mckee, 2008) The NHS project of foundation trusts was actually market oriented i.e. it adopted measures that were needed by the general public. The general governance of the Foundation Trusts as set out by the NHS, targeted the rules of the market. These included the foundation trusts taking full responsibility to ensure they are successful. Foundation trusts had significant and mostly beneficial impact on the quality of service and financial control. These required strategic planning and proper governance structures which needed innovation and some structural changes to succeed. While the health sector started to experience improvement the advocates or the proponents of the policy noted that the Foundation trusts were not in any way improving faster than the non- Foundation trusts. (Monitor 2009) These was mostly due to the cultural stereotype that existed since the second world war that related to the cent...
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