When policies are too big not to implement: the failure of evidence based policy making

So I attended another administrative meeting today. One of the jobs was to review (& approve) a policy that came from ‘above’. There was a lot of pressure from ‘above’ to implement this policy despite the intention of the Federal Government to support subsidiarity (put simply – local decision making). The fact is that the policy is poor and not-evidence based. Many parties outside our local health district oppose the policy. And in fact our local opponents to the policy could site evidence that it is poor policy. Our ‘local’ decision was to compromise and endorse the policy and produce an in-house business rule to overcome the short-comings of the policy – or, in other words, we’ll endorse it and ignore it. I’ve seen this happen several time before in other guises, for example, yes we endorse the policy but we have no money to implement so we will endorse and do nothing. In the National Standards good governance is the number 1 standard: unfortunately this will be about process rather than outcome. Surely it would be better to reject and develop good policy rather than adapt to bad policy.

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