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Towards Richer Decision Making

     | Institute of Governance

Towards Richer Decision Making is a joint collaboration between the Institute of Governanace and The Policy Institute, Trinity College, Dublin.

Principal Investigators Prof. John Murray, School of Business, TCD and Prof. Elizabeth Meehan, QUB
email e.meehan@qub.ac.uk   

Project Summary
The aim of the research project is to increase understanding of factors that enable more effective public service decision-making.  This will be carried out through an evaluation of inclusive decision-making processes in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, along with in-depth case studies public policy making and implementation, principally in the areas of urban renewal and health policy.  On the basis of the research, the project team plans to make recommendations for enhancing policy-making and public management practice.

There are two core objectives to the research project.  The first objective is to develop a comparative evaluation of the effect of public service reforms of the last 20 years on public decision-making and public service delivery.  The second core objective is to evaluate the performance of such policies and to develop practical strategies for increasing the level of involvement in public decision-making processes.

The project is funded by the Higher Education Authority in association with the National Development Plan as part of the North South Programme for Collaborative Research.  The collaboration is a partnership between the School of Business and Policy Institute at Trinity College, Dublin and the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research at Queens University, Belfast and includes leading academics and practitioners with expertise in policy making and its evaluation.

The project has a number of additional aims and objectives including the identification of factors that influence policy-making but for which little empirical data exists.  Specifically, the project will first identify if and how key stakeholders and participants in the decision-making process and the implementation of public services have changed in the last two decades.  The project will then define the demographic, relational and environmental dimensions that influence the decision-making processes of stakeholders and participants in public service systems and/or the systemic outcomes.  These elements will be identified using a process analysis approach and an organisational model derived from a complex adaptive systems framework, to capture the degree of complexity of the systems through which decision-making occurs.  This will enable the assessment of the antecedents and/or causal factors of both planned and unanticipated consequences that arise out of public policy reforms. 

The results of the research will be disseminated through seminars with policy stakeholders and in various published forms including project case studies, a final report and journal articles. 

Strand Two
Strand two of this project is currently active. Surveys regarding the way in which Public Bodies and NGO's go about consulting other organisations and the public can be found on this site: http://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/rdm/