Policy Implementation is the second policy making phase which corresponds to the operational dimension of the policy making environment. In this phase the challenge is to develop an effective implementation plan for the policy created in the Policy Design Phase and to monitor the impact produced. Four key steps are involved, 1) the creation of the implementation plan, 2) the implementation itself, 3) the on-going monitoring, and 4) the communication campaign.
Step 1: Implementation Plan
The first step is the development of the implementation plan to drive the change the policy is intended to create. Policy actions/outcomes may have different natures: they can be incentives, or norms and constraints, new infrastructure, purely communicative or a mixture of all. To enable the best chances of success the Implementation Plan will need to create the right conditions for all the policy natures to be implemented. The use of big data for monitoring real-time effectiveness of the policy solution should be considered here, e.g. measuring changes in air quality, traffic flows, accidents, public opinion etc. These can be easily viewed and explored using the same visualisations created for Policy Design, or through more specific visualisations tailored to the specific policy. The main activities include:
- Making the Plan of Action – including data collection and analysis for impact monitoring
- Making the Communication Plan – a well organised communication campaign ensures the public are engaged at the right points, and can participate when necessary
- Making the Monitoring Plan;
- Setting the Context.
Step 2: Implementation and Communication
The second step of policy implementation consists of the operational implementation of the policy. Implementation takes different amounts of time depending on the nature of the planned policy actions. for example, the the construction of new infrastructures may imply a long and complex implementation period. Similar complexity may be associated with financial incentive actions, plus financial and administrative management may represent quite a challenge for the policy implementation managers. Less complex is the implementation of information and communication campaigns that require long-lasting, intense and diversified communication activities. Finally, norms and constraints are such that once the context has been prepared, the change envisaged by the policy can be considered implemented and only requires data collection for both the aims: monitoring the level of acceptance by the public and the resulted impacts. The main activities related to the operational implementation of the policy are:
- Disseminating the news;
- Implementation of the agenda;
- Managing implementation.
Relevant outputs of the operational implementation are changes produced by the policy actions. Such change is expected to produce important impact on the public and therefore engagement with the community is crucial and can help with a smoother operation and benefits realisation.
Steps 3 & 4: On-going monitoring and Communication.
On-going monitoring is implemented as per the implementation plan which includes the strategies for data collection and analysis (including use of visualisations mentioned above) in the real-life environment. Monitoring of the implementation provides a preliminary evidence-based check of the validity of the policy actions with respect to the expected outcomes. These results are then used to communicate the effectiveness of the solution to the public and collect their feedback. The main activities include
- Data collection and analysis – double goal, (a) check and adjust implementation approach, and (b) use results to communicate with public
- Reporting – the resulting implementation report contains evidence of the the impacts and the benefits that have been generated
- Policy actions tuning – results used to micro-adjust policy actions – follows a Living Lab style methodology