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Open Access research with a European policy impact...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC).

EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

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Towards a framework for examining policy success

McConnell, Allan and Marsh, David (2008) Towards a framework for examining policy success. In: Australasian Political Studies Association Conference, 2008-07-06 - 2008-07-09.

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Abstract

Claims that a particular policy has been a 'success' are commonplace in political life. They emanate from government and government agencies, interest groups, political parties, media, think tanks, non-governmental organisations etc. However, a few of these claims are justified in any systematic way. This article seeks to remedy this omission by offering a heuristic which practitioners and academics can utilise to approach the question of whether a policy is, or was, successful. It builds initially on two sets of literature: work on public sector improvement; and the work of Mark Bovens, Paul 't Hart and collaborators on success, failure and policy evaluation. We begin with a discussion of the epistemological issues involved raising the question of whether it is possible to produce an objective measure of 'success'. Subsequently, we present a framework for assessing success, focusing on three dimensions: process success; programmatic success; and political success. Each of these dimensions is discussed, before we move on to raise a series of what we term complexity issues, that is issues which make any judgment in relation to any of the dimensions of success difficult: the question of success for whom; the variations across time, space and culture in assessing success; and the methodological issues involved.