Three resources to aid understanding of Assessing and Opening Policy Windows. A printer friendly PDF can be downloaded from the box at the bottom of this page. The PDF includes companion process guide for training workshops and planning sessions.
Resource 1: Kingdon’s ‘policy window’ framework
Elevating an idea on the policy agenda requires investments in more than one element and in the ways that the elements can complement one another. Investing in research alone to define a problem, for example, has less chance of success than investing in problem definition and advocacy for proposals that get attached to that problem. The likelihood of successful agenda setting substantially increases if all three elements—problem, proposal, and politics—are linked in a single package.
Source: ‘Evaluation Based on Theories of the Policy Process’, Evaluation Exchange Volume XIII, Number 1&2, Spring 2007, http://www.hfrp.org/evaluation/the-evaluation-exchange/issue-archive/advocacy-and-policy-change/evaluation-based-on-theories-of-the-policy-process
Resource 2: Policy Window
The policy window is an opportunity for advocates of proposals to push their pet solutions, or to push attention to their special problems. Policy entrepreneurs must be prepared, their pet proposal at the ready, their special problem well-documented in order to realise their goals while the policy window opens. Then, the separate three streams come together. A problem is recognised, a solution is developed and available in the policy community, a political change makes it the right time for policy change, and potential constraints are not severe.
A policy window opens when:
- There is a new problem or definition of a problem.
- There is a change in administration or Parliament.
- There is a change in the national mood.
- Policy windows open sometimes predictably, other times unpredictably.
A policy window closes when:
- Problem has been seemingly fixed.
- People think it’s not going anywhere.
- A crisis passes, or there may be a key personnel change.
- No single alternative emerges
Source: Summary of John Kingdon (2011) Agenda, alternatives and public policies, https://yuheisuzuki.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/summary-john-w-kingdon-agendas-alternatives-and-public-policies-update-edition-with-an-epilogue-on-health-care-2nd-edition/
Resource 3: The Advocacy assessment framework
Nine conditions are essential to a successful policy campaign:
- Functioning venue(s) for adoption: The relevant legislative, legal, and regulatory institutions are functioning sufficiently for advocacy to be effective.
- Open policy window: External events or trends spur demand for the solution.
- Feasible solution: A feasible solution has been developed and shown to produce the intended benefits.
- Dynamic master plan: A pragmatic and flexible advocacy strategy and communications plan is ready for execution.
- Strong campaign leader(s): Central advocates can assemble and lead the resources to execute the strategy and communications plan.
- Influential support coalition: Allies can sway needed decision-makers and help the campaign leader/s to pursue the solution.
- Mobilised public: Relevant public audiences actively support the solution and its underlying social principles.
- Powerful inside champions: Decision-makers who can overcome the opposition support the solution and its underlying principles.
- Clear implementation path: The implementing institution has the commitment and the ability to execute the solution.
This framework may be used as a checklist, as a rubric or as a quantitative estimator.
Source: Ivan Barkhorn, Nathan Huttner & Jason Blau, Spring 2013, ‘Assessing Advocacy’, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Issue 1, http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/assessing_advocacy
See the companion process guide here or in the downloadable PDF in the box below.