Wallace, Derek
March 2007
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;Mar2007, Issue 30, p94
Academic Journal
Work by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on ‘governance’ has provided criteria by which an assessment can be made of the democratic quality of any instance of policy development. I begin by briefly introducing this framework, and then apply it to a recent New Zealand policy initiative — the development by the Ministry of Social Development of the Agenda for Children. I selected this initiative on the basis that it stood out immediately as likely to answer comparatively fully to the criteria for democratic policy making as defined by the OECD. I review the policy process undertaken, the website presentation and links, the official documentation around consultation and reporting, and the minutes of the ministerial advisory group established for the initiative. Close analysis indeed confirms a commendable allegiance to the principles of contemporary democratic governance, and the main purpose of the article is to explicate how this allegiance can be realised in practice. At the same time, areas where the consultation and presentation around the policy fall short, as well as where the OECD framework itself may be suspect, are noted.


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