Community engagement

Community engagement

How do you get the strategy for a new policy right?

Implementing a new policy through an investment in infrastructure is difficult to get right, because the outcomes depend on a complex interaction between technical infrastructure and people's behaviour.

A careful 'test' – a pilot trial, together with proper impact assessment, can provide valuable data for testing and refinement of a new infrastructure strategy, before full scale implementation. Thus the new policy impact risks can be minimised to a controllable level.

1) Why is it difficult to formulate a test for new policy?

  • Many inter-dependent variables
  • Many environmental factors which are difficult to control
  • Not easy to be repeatable
  • Difficult to predict human social and economic behaviour

2) What is the purpose of such a test?

  • Verifying that what the policy was intended to achieve is what will be delivered by the strategy
  • Managing and reducing the risk of getting it wrong, for both the policy maker and general public
  • 3) Why not use a Pilot Project and Impact Assessment?
    Impact Assessment is the process of identifying the future consequences of a current or proposed strategy. The "impact" is the difference between what would happen with the strategy and what would happen without it. By combining it with a pilot project, you can assess the real things that happen, not just assumptions from a desk study.

    Example 1: Unsuccessful policy implementation – no testing done

    China's first Land Administration Law was promulgated in 1986. Its implementation in the next 10 years exposed a number of weaknesses that caused serious problems especially the excessive conversion of agricultural land for urban development. Source: Wu, Zhaoji (2001a) (ed.) Public Policy Analysis. China Drama Press

    Example 2: Successful policy implementation – testing first, using a pilot trial

    With the early trials on privatisation of municipal services in Shenzhen judged a success, the Ministry of Construction issued new nationwide rules in 2004 formally allowing private investors to operate urban infrastructure. Source: Adapted from "Stinking, Filthy, Rich," Far Eastern Economic Review

    Evaluate a pilot trial using an effective impack assessment framework?

    How do you formulate an effective impact assessment?

    An example of the key elements are given in the table (case studies can be found on the World Bank webpage)