‘We’ve given you the policy, now implement it’
This chapter traces the broad contours of the implementation debates and in doing so attempts to do justice to the extensive literature surrounding policy implementation. It starts by offering a brief mention of definitions and a chronological account of the ways in which the issue of implementation has tended to be treated within the wider policy literature. It draws particular attention to the ways in which traditional models of policy have treated the identification of problems, the development of policies, and subsequent attempts at implementation as distinct stages. It critiques the more traditional and linear approaches that have sometimes been used to analyse the implementation of policy. It argues that the problem of policy implementation does not simply exist because local individuals or organisations fail to implement policy or lack the skill or will to do so. Policy implementation is a more complex and dynamic process than is often suggested. Instead it proposes that processes of sense making — how individuals and agencies give meaning to the world — are crucial in understanding policy implementation in a more nuanced and helpful way than traditional models of policy analysis have tended to allow.
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