Sound Public Governance for Policy Formulation, Implementation and Evaluation

Public governance also refers to the formulation, implementation, communication, and evaluation of government policies. The second part of the Framework presents how governments can shape policymaking at different stages of the policy cycle through the strategic use of policy instruments and management tools.

While policy-making does not necessarily follow a linear path, the Framework provides guidance on management tools and policy instruments that can support policymakers once a policy challenge has been identified, defined, and framed to determine courses of action. Evidence suggests that the following management tools can improve the quality of policy formulation and design. The Framework stresses the importance of:

  • Strategic planning to translate political commitments and ambitions into strategies and action plans,
  • Skills for developing policy, that combine traditional aptitudes with new skills in digital, open and innovative government,
  • Digital capacities to enable collaboration and enhance transparency,
  • Use of data to identify or anticipate societal needs and inform policy design.

Governments usually have three main instruments at their disposal to achieve their objectives: spending, taxation and regulation. Digital tools and public procurement also provide very powerful avenues for giving effect to policy measures. This chapter highlights the importance of:

  • Regulatory policy and governance to ensure that regulations meet the desired objectives and new challenges as efficiently as possible.
  • Budgetary governance to translate political commitments into decisions on what policies receive financing and how these resources are generated.

The Framework assesses key determinants of successful policy implementation and underscores the importance of:

  • Strengthening the capacities and skills of public employees,
  • Strengthening digital government strategies to enable a more strategic use of government data,
  • A well-designed public procurement system, which allows to use procurement as a strategic level of policy objectives.
  • Public-private (PPPs) and public-civil partnerships, to share policy implementation functions and service delivery,
  • Agile and innovative approaches, to create feedback loops during the implementation and service delivery process,
  • A strategic approach to the implementation of the SDGs.

Monitoring policy and governance performance is essential to ensure the proper implementation of public policies. Monitoring information can feed decision-making and improve performance, helping policymakers track progress and make adjustments when necessary. Monitoring can also promote accountability to stakeholders on issues such as the use of resources, internal processes, and the outputs of a policy. The Framework highlights that:

  • OECD countries are increasingly focusing on monitoring the alignment of policies as well as their impact.
  • Monitoring the administration’s financial performance and budget execution can help governments assess the effectiveness of public spending against strategic objectives and adjust the allocation of financial resources.
  • Many OECD countries measure regulatory performance and ensure regulatory compliance works through inspections.

Evaluating performance and policy results helps policymakers understand why some policies work and others do not. If the evidence produced is fed into the policy cycle, policy evaluations can optimise the value for money, accountability and transparency of the policy-making process, and provide legitimacy for the use of public funds and resources. The chapter shows the importance of building institutional frameworks for policy evaluation and promoting the quality and use of evaluation across government. It also highlights the relevance of conducting ex-post regulatory reviews, to ensure regulations in place are both relevant and adapted to their aims.