Despite strong political will at the top, government policies sometimes have been failing in toto or producing partially ineffective results in the past. Policies like the education policy, housing policy, environmental policy and others are some examples. Lack of proper implementation mechanism is a major bottleneck in the dismal scenario. This not only aggravates public suffering but also causes colossal financial losses to the public exchequer. Let us go into a diagnostic analysis and ways to correct this situation in the light of global practices to ensure effective achievements of results of policies.
Peter Drucker, a world renowned management expert, describes a four pillar structure to ensure successful implementation of any policy, project or management system irrespective of its size and magnitude. The National Counter Terrorism Policy launched by the present government has been fairly successful due to better framework consistent with some global practices.
What is Peter Drucker’s formula for successful implementation of policies? Let us examine the requirements. In fact, the said formula now forms the core principle of all Global Management Standards today practised worldwide.
PDCA cycle means – Plan, Do, Check and Act. ‘P’ stands for complete planning. ‘Do’ implies implementation mechanism with details, ‘C’ means checking the follow up actions to check results of implementation. ‘Act’ covers removing flaws in implementation and consequent corrective measures. The process goes on a continuous basis to ensure success of a Policy in the long run. Our national policies have been confining to ‘P’ only in most cases. Other integral steps are generally missing, which results in failure of policies.
Potential gaps in following the PDCA cycle in Pakistan especially in the public sector policies are observed as follows;
Firstly, non-professionalism in policy planning and ignoring the state of the art approach, a prevailing ‘babu culture’ and bureaucratic setup responsible for implementation that is lacking IT applications and alignment with objectives of a policy.
Secondly, there is an absence of a professionally organised monitoring system to check implementation. Lack of training of the personnel involved. This leads to an absence of corrective actions to continuously check plans in implementation, much due to incompetence and corruption of the personnel involved.
In this connection cumbersome procedural jargon is causing delays and corruption becomes a big factor in failures of policies or partially ineffective results, thus wasting public funds.
The implementation plan of any policy is generally choked due to lack of updated services reforms consistent with modern technologies and professionalism. Experienced professionals like engineers, doctors, accountants and, management experts need to get top positions in the implementation mechanism in services reforms. Merit and results delivery should be the pillars of services reforms. Information technologies have revolutionised policies implementation and monitoring mechanism. Outdated individuals cannot meet the new advancements in knowhow and global practices.
In fact, such celebrated personalities inhibit modernisation of services meeting global standards. Without drastic reforms, delivery of results of policies would remain a dream. It was late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, introduced services reforms for the first time in the country which have become out of date long ago in the wake of changed technological and socio economic scenarios worldwide, thus necessitating updated services reforms package to meet the latest national challenges.
Almost all the donor agencies like IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank have also stressed for services reforms to spur growth and national economy.
The public sector reforms package is vitally needed as mentioned above. Unfortunately, necessary reforms imperative for overcoming the menace of mismanagement have not been devised, introduced and implemented effectively in the past decades. This has resulted in failures of various policies launched over the years. Even the CPEC – the most vital national project, is reportedly suffering from delays. This allegedly came under discussion in a high level meeting of the federal government during August 2016. There is a dire need therefore to devise the reforms package with the help of professionals without any further loss of time. This may cover short term and long terms reforms packages.
Apart from updated services reforms, another potential factor in policies implementation is the role of Parliament and Provincial Assemblies. Elected representatives of the people in a democracy, if well-educated and responsive can be very effective in ensuring public sector reforms implementation and effective results. This needs proper awareness of the public representatives.
The menaces of corruption and mismanagement in the public sector in Pakistan are also closely related with one another and have to be tackled jointly for their elimination to save the national economy and to end public sufferings. This twin menace also results in policy failure. The tide of time may not forgive the nation for any lapses and disregard to the vital reform.