A policy model for the digital age: a revision of the UK public policy model

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The UK e-voting policy is an integral component of the strategy to modernise the electoral system to afford choice and flexibility to the electorate. The policy is being introduced via local government through a series of voluntary pilot schemes designed to test the new technology, and local authorities become involved in this policy process at the implementation stage when they are invited to participate in the pilot programme. This paper is based on qualitative research into the implementation of the UK government’s evoting policy as this innovation is introduced into the local government system. It argues that, as the essence of diffusion is communication, there needs to be a revised strategy to consider the diffusion of the policy at an earlier stage in the process. The findings are based on interviews with the Chief Executive of the Association of Electoral Administrators and with Electoral Officers who did not participate in the most comprehensive pilot programme conducted in 2003. They establish an overview of the administration of e-voting and identify the reasons why local authorities did not volunteer for that pilot programme. The analysis draws on Anderson’s model of the public policy process, to identify the stage at which local government becomes involved in the policy process, and Rogers’ model of the diffusion of innovations, to demonstrate the UK government’s failure to understand the need to consider a diffusion strategy. The results suggest that the UK government fails to appreciate the benefits of cohesion between the public policy process and the diffusion process, and that the likelihood of the adoption of public policies concerned with the introduction of technological innovations would be enhanced by the formulation of a revised public policy model. This revised model recognises that policy implementation needs to be considered throughout the policy process as it amalgamates the heuristic public policy process model and the diffusion of innovations model incorporating selected diffusion concepts at the formulation stage of the linear policy process. Keywords: Public policy, e-voting, policy implementation
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event8th European Conference on e-Government - Lausanne, Switzerland
Duration: 10 Jul 200811 Jul 2008


Conference8th European Conference on e-Government


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