The inputs to the process are so diverse that it would be wrong to suggest that policymaking is the preserve of decision-making elites
The very nature of governance is quite complex, particularly when matters pertaining to policy making are in question. A school of thought posits that policymaking is in essence a preserve of the elite. Nevertheless, this is not so, considering that both elitist and pluralist considerations are employed. In this way, policymaking is integrated in all spheres of governance, the objective being to develop systems including procedures with which authority, power including legitimacy is established, executed, and controlled within a defined social establishment. Policymaking is thus a principal path by which the government employs citizen participation. It would therefore be wrong to suggest that policymaking is the preserve of decision-making elites. Policymaking is a design that establishes citizens that have both rights as well as duties. Policymaking is established to focus on the duties, arrangement, and functionality of various government departments. It is therefore through the decision making process that constitution, including legal provisions and judicial decisions are established. More so, the government implements policies universally to blanket the entire populace, where it is monopolized, it forces the people to obedience or more to sanction the offenders.
Nevertheless, policy cannot be perceived as public until it has been adopted, enforced, or executed by the various government institutions. It is accepted that when the policymaking elite is allowed to act, it divide the populace due to information distortion as well as apathy. In this manner, the citizens are governed as those who have authority and those who do not have. The reason they cannot be allowed or argued decision making is for elite is that ,elites have values that set them apart from the wider public. In addition, when elite policies are reflected they tend to safeguard the status quo. This affects the education, income, and social status of the public (Prokhovnik ,2005, p17). Good structures allow the formation of a society where the few are not allowed to dominate the majority. That is why decision-making should not be a preserve of elites. The elites are known to weaken the governance framework, since they thrive on shaping the public opinion. While the civil officials execute elitist policies which assume that the public is shared into a powerful few and a powerless mass, the wider public cannot decide or develop public policy. Elites are drawn from high status strata; non-elites are absorbed slowly but only after they embrace the elitist concepts and values.
More so, the democratic establishment allows individuals to take part in shaping their nation actively. Moreover, this kind of engagement is affected in various ways and within diverse angles, from informal and communal settings, to corporate establishments, peak bodies even NGOs, to such sensitive organs as legislature, public service and the courts. In essence, democracies are culturally and social dynamic, establishing institutions, conventions including structures that eventually echo and reflect the innate values including habits of their populace. These dynamics are shaped through good policy decisions, which are carried out by very citizens of the given country. With the expansive aspect of policy making, public policy in nature constantly evolves as a parameter to run social, economic including environmental matters, to respond to the requirements. It also touches on preferences, including the desires of the populace, to pilot them in the apposite directions that are perceived as conducive to the country’s wellbeing. However, the very nature of the policymaking process as decision-making is fluid and complicated.
Nations are shaped through public policy. Naturally, public policies are not engineered by politicians, but by countless civil servants including women and men who now and then petitions legislative organs including ministers, who along the way teams up with interest groups and more so commenting on the issues through media and representative unions, community movements and corporations (Prokhovnik, 2001,p20). All these groups have a real stake in public policy.However,when poor public policies are adopted, implications of irresponsibility are felt across the nation. This encourages the elitist to control the mass through manipulated information including indirect influence on diverse public decisions and policies. However, in democratic environment, the information flows the policy making process is democratic and the citizens are not sidelined.
Public policy is a product of a system of various forces acting and reacting on each other. The primary focuses is on the legislature, though, the executive is pressured by various interest entities. This arrangement is captured under the group model, in this formation, individuals with identical interests come together and press their demands either formally or informally, and this group acts as a link between the government and the individual citizen. As for the scope of public policy, this group tends to establish rules to be followed, sets compromises as well as balances diverse interests, execute these compromises, and enacts them in public policy. This is also referred to as equilibrium theory. Proper decision and policy making processes need to be tethered on expansive interests of the populace. In this manner, the policy and decision making process needs to be shielded from influence of numbers, organizational strength, wealth as well as leadership interests as this would compromise the well-being of the country.
Hence, the assumption and practice allied to public administration is heavily concerned with placing the citizenry within the heart of policymakers concerns, not merely as targets but more as agents. What this illustrates is tha, each public servant is exhorted to collaborate, not simply check with, to reach out, and not only take action. This means participating with a populace that is well educated accustomed to their rights as voters and citizens who have seamless access to proper information as well as broader exposure to the various voices of experts, advocates including opinion leaders.
The elements of policy process must equally reflect the needs of the affected and marginalized populace as well as the disaffected populace and other groups. That is why proper adoption of citizen centered view in policymaking including service design need to be a manifestation of the elemental commitment to the public participation in all aspects of governance that demonstrates an autonomous polity. At its full exposure, the acts of policy and decision making are echoed in diverse efforts by diverse activists, political theorists as well as other interested parties in advocating what the decision making process may define as ‘direct’ ‘deliberative’, or ‘participatory’ social equality (Prokhovnik ,2005,p17). Hence, at more pedestrian level, the said obligation is thus reflected in local including practical enterprises that the government pursues to ascertain the populace involvement in policy and decision-making process so that it does not infringe on their rights. In addition, some of these factors include healthcare, security, agriculture, land management, and all dynamics of budget formulation.
Informed approach is thus important, since policymaking is a process that calls for total input from all public spheres. In this manner, feedback, input and output need to be considered as being fundamental in the entire process. Thus, elitist concept of allowing the few to control the public policy cannot be accepted. Within the various governance models, the citizens forms the largest pool of resources, hence proper policies are required to shield the people. As observed in other forms of governance such as system model, the public policies are shaped according to the environment. Public policies are designed to meet the demands and the government expects support from the public.Since the scope of policymaking process including the decision-making procedure is not a prerogative of politicians, political parties or religious organizations, it ought to be noted that elitist factors cannot be allowed to hold down the public wellbeing. In the course of policy development as well as decision-making, many resources are employed. Considering the plight of the nation and the thousands involved in the formulation of such policies, it would instrumental to assert that elite groups cannot be allowed to determine the course of the nation. This may explain why the reformist public considers diverse aspects of ethical perspectives when formulating policies or engaging in any act of public decision-making.
In this regard, constitutional structures favorable for civic participation are essential. It is only through well-grounded and shared understanding involving the policy and decision makers that citizens can be adequately represented (Prokhovnik ,2005, p19). Therefore, a systematic approach is important in handling the diverse features allied to public policies; note that, if mishandled and assumed that it is the duty of the elite to handle public policies, the resources and the fate of the people can be at risk.
Therefore, the nature and extent of decision and policymaking is not a preserve of the elite. In these procedures, diverse political systems can be said to provide different approaches to the formulation of public policies. Due to various political interests interrelated with governance structures, decision making and policy formulation ought to be within the range of democratic realm. However, various political settings have shown that decision making and policy formulation can be a preserve of few. Elites if allowed to dominate the government, the entire civil system is affected since, they make decisions that echoes their limited concerns and heavily impact on the resources which affects the population through allocation, social structure, political ideology ,population size, economy and demography. Thus, it is true that the inputs to the process are so diverse that it would be wrong to suggest that policymaking is the preserve of decision-making elites. The process is not a preserve of any given political, class or religious entity, it is a free process, though time to time is disrupted by changes within the ruling and political class. Nevertheless, the policymaking is shaped largely by the public interests as compared to political concerns. I am of the opinion that policymaking is not a preserve of the elites, if the governance system is based on the pillars of transparency and accountability.
Prokhovnik ,Raia. Making Policy,Shaping Lives. Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2005.print