Policy Development in Government Agencies.

Posted: October 17th, 2013

Policy Development in Government Agencies.





Centralized Management in Government Agencies

Role of Centralization in Policy Development

A government agency is an organizational unit of the Executive branch. It is any agency or independent establishment of the executive branch (Philpott, 2010). Government agencies typically develop their policies at central head office level. This form of management is also known as a bureaucracy.

Developing policies at a central head office ensures that they comply with laws passed by the legislative government. The policies have to be in line with federal law as the top tier managers are constantly held accountable for how an agency is run. In the United States, high-level government executives are preoccupied with maintaining their agencies in a complex, political environment (Wilson, 1991). It is thus easier for policies to come from the top down, as managers can be sure field level offices are complying with the current legislation.

Using a centralized form of management enables Government managers to enforce compliance with regulations at relatively low costs. Budgets provide the resources to support programs, and the delivery of benefits to target populations. Levels of funding determine how and what resources can be distributed by each program (Biggs & Helms, 2007). Most Government agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation are usually subject to congressional oversight bodies. This means that they have to justify their spending so congress may approve of and appropriate funds to their programs. The appropriation of funds to government agencies is also dependent on their compliance to policy changes. Top management thus needs the control that centralization gives to ensure agency spending policies are justifiable. The centralized management also enables agencies to adapt to the changing requirements made by different administrations. This is because new presidents usually have different agendas and priorities from their predecessors depending on their campaign platforms.

The role of Central Policy units

Public sector policy makers usually provide vision for their agencies by making strategic plans that guide employee future actions. They ensure legislation is used as a guiding principle when enacting policies. Policy units are usually subject to the Government Performance and Review Act (GPRA), which requires certain federal agencies to develop and submit to congress and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) their strategic plans and performance review methods (Biggs & Helms, 2007). In spite of the various organizational constraints, it is the responsibility of the policy units to ensure agency programs have a tremendous impact on society. Successful programs usually have an easier time than failures getting funding from congress.

Policy units influence the employee quality in agencies as they come up with government Human Resource policies such as hiring and developing employees. Agency policy makers are also tasked with creating transparent structures that ensure all concerned parties know how they operate. They are expected to reorganize government operations in response to public demands for change (Radin & Chanin, 2009). Policy makers have used agency websites to provide information about their services to the public. They also ensure that the agencies stay relevant by keeping up with changes in society such as technological advancements and population increase. Government regulation of and participation in, increasingly complex technologies (such as the space program and energy research) requires more sophisticated bureaucracies (Milakovich & Gordon, 2009).

Policy makers carry the responsibility of liaising with other government agencies. Information and resource sharing within the government is also subject to policy. For instance, an agency can commission expert advice from a different ministry concerning a program. This needs approval from the ministry manager. They also assign administrative and financial authority to middle level agency managers. Policy makers usually make provisions for emergency funds that may be required during events such as earthquakes.



















Biggs, S. & Helms, B. L. (2007). The Practice of American Policymaking. Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe.

Condrey, S. (1998). Handbook of human resource management in government. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Milakovich, M. E. & Gordon, G. (2009). Public administration in America. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Philpott, D. (2010). A guide to Federal Terms and Acronyms. Lanham, MD: Government Institutes.

Radin, B. & Chanin, J. M. (2009). Federal government reorganization: a policy and management perspective. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Wilson, J. Q. (1989). Bureaucracy, what government Agencies do and why they do it. New York: Basic Books.

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