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Commissioning Policy Inquiry: CG4

Inquiry for Society is Complex

If mobilization has been successful, some change is accepted as necessary. But society is complex. Even if the general type and direction of change is clear and values are widely agreed, both the big ideas and details of public policy are rarely obvious and usually contentious. So it is necessary to arrange inquiries that develop relevant knowledge on which recommendations are based.

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)… Closed "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

ClosedWhy Should Policy be Rational?

Any relevant inquiry must be authoritative if it is to be credible for wider society and considered by the government bureaucracy. So the institution, procedures and outputs of any inquiry need to be formal and well-documented.

Formal instructions or commissions for an inquiry may occur in two guises, much as we found in G2-political work.

The 4 Sources of Policy

There are four sources of public policy each of which emerges from the need to commissioning inquiry.

There are 4 social mechanisms by which public policy may be methodically generated for formal consideration. These are defined by the 4 TetradsCG4 in the Structural Hierarchy—see diagram.

Output from any formal policy-related inquiry takes time, never less than several months, usually 1-2 years, and in the case of some public inquiries as long as 2-5 years. As shown below, none of the policy methods escapes criticism.

Public Inquiry (CG44

A formally instituted Public Inquiry is the method that most fully engages ordinary people in the policy-making process. 

Think Tank Report (CG43)

A Think-tank Report gets its value from being academically-based and potentially independent of government, commerce and popular opinion.

Departmental Paper (CG42)

A Departmental Paper produced within a civil service bureaucracy or statutory agency is the method that is most under the control of the government.

Vested Interest Proposal (CG41)

A Vested-interest Proposal is developed by the membership organization of an industry or a professional body or other enduring or ad hoc representative group. Typically we think of financial interests, but powerful lobbies could have other interests.

More on the four sources of public policy including specification of their internal structures.

Read about methods used for policy-generating inquiry. Consider the effect of mind-set on policy-generating inquiry.

ClosedWhat Comes Next? 

Having the facts, a rounded picture and a variety of recommendations, possibly revealing many objections and differences, is a step in the right direction. But it is some distance away from legislative or executive changes and commitments made on behalf of society. The issue that emerges from policy inquiries is:

So, after policy proposals, we must move up a Grouping/Level to consider determining authorization of change.

Originally posted: August-2009; Last updated: 15-Nov-2010

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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