This book has set out a wide range of perspectives that can inform our understanding of the variety of influences on the processes of formulating, implementing and evaluating public policy and the exercise of power. Developments from the 1970s onwards have been examined and can be seen as reflecting many of these influences. This chapter outlines some of the lessons that can be learnt from a consideration of the policy process in the United Kingdom. This book has introduced a wide range of theories, perspectives, models and approaches that can be applied to the policy process in order to enable us to better understand the making, implementation and evaluation of policy. As is apparent throughout the book, some of these conflict with each other, directly or indirectly, while others may serve to reinforce each other to varying extents; some may be descriptive, some analytical, and some prescriptive. However, they do have considerable value in offering a variety of lenses through which, singly or jointly, we can analyse the exercise of power in the public policy process. A focus on the contemporary policy process is likely to emphasise the ongoing, complex and dynamic nature of policy making and implementation, and to require consideration of the wide variety of influences and the ways in which power is exercised and decisions are made. As is made clear throughout this book, it is not always easy to define and recognise the parameters of many of the ideas dealt with here, including the definitions of ‘public policy’ and the ‘policy process’.
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Prof. Hugh Bochel
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