‘By applying the range of tools of policy analysis to the detail of the policy making machinery of British government, Peter Dorey's text has met a need for teachers and students of these subjects which has not been fulfilled for a decade or more. I have adopted it straight away as a ‘must buy’ for my own students’
- Justin Greenwood, Robert Gordon University
‘A very welcome addition to the literature on public policy-making in contemporary Britain and ideal for teaching purposes. Peter Dorey's new book is clearly written, theoretically informed, but also rich in illustration. A key resource for all students of British public policy’
- Dr Andrew Denham, Reader in Government, University of Nottingham
This accessible textbook introduces students to the public policy-making process in Britain today. Assuming no prior knowledge, it provides a full review of the key actors, institutions and processes by addressing the following questions:
who sets the public policy agenda?; who influences the detail of public policy?; what makes for successful implementation of public policy?; is there such a thing as ‘British’ public policy?
Peter Dorey is careful to ground theory in the reality of contemporary British politics and the text fully assesses the impact of devolution and European integration and the evolution from government to governance.
The result is a lively and accessible new text that will be required reading for all students of contemporary British politics, public policy and governance.
Chapter 2: Defining Problems and Devising Policies
Defining Problems and Devising Policies
Identifying Issues and Problems
Our starting point is to note how and why certain issues or conditions become recognized as problems which warrant attention from policy makers. Given that policy makers will invariably be faced with any number of demands for action to tackle particular issues at any one time, we need to understand, right from the outset, how and why only a few of those are likely to be deemed as problematic, and thereby prompt the development of policies to solve or ameliorate them. Or as one political scientist has expressed it: ‘Of the thousands and thousands of demands made upon government, only a small portion receive serious attention from public policy-makers’ (Anderson, 1975: 59). As ...