Governance and Public Policy

Williams, Russell Alan and MacDonald, Lucy (2014) Governance and Public Policy. In: NL Forum 2014 , November 4 & 5 2014, St. John's NL.

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This paper provides an overview of the Harris Centre’s activity during its first ten years in relation to governance and public policy in Newfoundland and Labrador. The “governance and public policy” theme in this anniversary project reflect activities at the Harris Centre that focus on issues of public policy process and institutional design in the province. While “public policy,” broadly understood, could comprise the full scope of Harris Centre activities as all of its activities engage in public policy questions broadly understood; the point of this report is to focus less on the insights provided by the Harris Centre on what governments should “do” in any particular policy domain, but rather on how they should be organized and on how the policy process should be managed. With that being said, the Harris Centre’s work on public policy and governance is complex. While some of it emerges as a “primary” focus of more directive work by the Harris Centre itself on key concerns in provincial governance, there is also a great deal of public policy and governance analysis as a “secondary” concern in research reports, workshops and presentations that were more centrally focused on questions of policy analysis and the content of existing or alternative policies. Often this secondary concern about institutions and process in a policy area emerges from comments, suggestions, or the summing up of Harris Centre events, reflecting a more “bottom up” process in which analysis of public policy and governance (and needed institutional reforms) was driven by participants. Basically, Harris Centre research, forums, discussion and deliberation frequently mix the consideration of substantive policy issues in a particular area (e.g. problems of forest management) with deliberations on governance (e.g. how forest management policy should be made). While this is entirely understandable, it means that there is considerable breadth to the Harris Centre’s work on the topic, albeit often in a “secondary role.” Thus, to capture the full scope of these activities and to give a general sense of themes present in the Harris Centre’s work, in the end, we have reviewed almost all of the Harris Centre’s activities, searching for discussion of public policy and governance. In Appendix 1 we offer a summery of all Harris Centre activity in this area. Far too broad to be discussed in detail in this overview, we have divided our discussion into two sections below. The first overview section focuses on general “thematic” concerns about public policy and governance that emerge in Harris Centre activities where public policy and governance were not the central theme (with some illustrative examples). The second overview section focuses on more direct and focused work led by the Centre in which public policy and governance were the primary focus

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Item ID: 8177
Department(s): Divisions > The Harris Centre
Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Political Science
Date: 5 November 2014
Date Type: Publication
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