Supporting Tool: Political Mapping For Policy

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Policy Implementation Toolkit
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GRSP acknowledges the financial contributions from Bloomberg Philanthropies and for making the preparation and publication of this manual possible.

Political Mapping for Policy Implementation

Political Mapping for Policy Implementation

Policy Implementation Toolkit

Why is it important?

Preparing for an implementation campaign can feel A political mapping exercise generally outlines the

overwhelming—especially after so much time and en- following:

ergy has already been spent on passing the policy. A key strategy will be to ensure you have the political support needed to fully implement the policy: drafting and adopting regulations, developing an implementation plan, educating the public about the policy

■■ Government bodies and agencies with the power to approve, amend or reject your proposal and/ or which have responsibility for specific stages of implementation;

change, enforcing the law, and assessing compliance. ■■ Steps and timelines for policy implementation

through these bodies and agencies, including op-


The implementation process is often complex. There

portunities for civil society input into the process;

may be different policy makers involved each policy objective and each step in the implementation process. For example, the Ministry of Transportation may be responsible for educating the public about

■■ Important decision-makers during each step of the implementation, including their positions on your proposal and broader interests;

new speed limits but it is up to the police to enforce ■■ Individuals and organizations able to influence

those new speed limits. As a result, you’ll need to

the implementation process and what might mo-

understand the implementation process and priori-

tivate them to champion or support your efforts;

tize your targets.


Political mapping for policy implementation follows the same basic logic as political mapping for a campaign for new legislation. If you’ve read the GRSP Advocacy Campaign toolkit, much of the following information may be familiar.
Political mapping should not be undertaken without a clear implementation objective identified first (see GRSP’s Determining Your Implementation Objective tool).
What needs to be done?
Conducting political mapping during the early planning stages can provide clarity by helping you understand the complex implementation process through which regulations are developed and policies are implemented. It will also help you identify opportunities to engage with and influence decision-makers. This is knowledge that will be critical to your campaign’s success.
Political mapping serves as the foundation for your implementation campaign plan and can help guide decision-making throughout. The following mapping techniques can be applied whether your campaign is focused on adopting a new regulation, issuing an executive order, amending a budget, or calling for strengthened enforcement.

■■ Potential opponents, motivations and tactics.
Once you have completed your political mapping, you can use this information to help you design advocacy strategies, activities and messages, as well as decide how to direct your outreach efforts. You’ll also have the information you need to track the positions of your target decision-makers as they evolve.
HELPFUL HINT: Complete the political mapping process as early as possible, ideally prior to developing your campaign plan. Once you’ve completed the mapping, regularly update it throughout the course of the campaign. Remember that the political map is a living document that reflects your current understanding of the political environment. As the political environment changes— as a result of an election or your advocacy efforts—your political map should, too.
Imagine you are going on a journey. What features would you look for in a useful road map? Many of these will be shared by a good political map.

The right type of map. A map of Shanghai won’t your map. Journalists and friendly government offi-

help you to navigate Bangkok. Similarly, a political cials can also be useful sources of information.

map should be tailored toward your policy objective

Political Mapping for Policy Implementation

and the specific processes required for it to pass. If your initiative is focused on an administrative regulation, for example, a map that tracks the process for a law will not be useful.

2. Define your implementation objective(s) Before you begin, your team must reach a consensus on your campaign’s implementation objective(s), as that objective will set the direction for your po-

litical mapping. Political mapping should not be un-

Directions. A useful map tracks your start point, dertaken without a clear implementation objective

endpoint, and a way to connect the two. A political identified first. The objective should address a gap or

map should also track the political process from be- weakness in the existing policy environment and pro-

ginning to end, laying out all the steps in between. vide an evidence-based solution that your advocacy

campaign can achieve.

Up-to-date information. A map of ancient Rome will

not help you drive across the city today. Likewise, Your policy objective should be Specific, Measurable,

a political map must contain current information. Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound or SMART. It

Years can pass from the start of a campaign to the should also contain the following three items:

end. Decision-makers can change. Events may shift

political priorities. Regularly refresh the political ■■ A policy “actor” or decision-maker - the person(s)



or decision-making body with the power to make

your desired change a reality.

Policy Implementation Toolkit

The right amount of information. A World Atlas may contain all the maps of the world, but you probably only need a few of those pages for your journey. In a similar way, your political map does not need to include every single government body or department – only those details relevant to your policy objective.

■■ A policy “action” or decision - the specific action you want them to take or decision you want them to make.
■■ Timeline for change - The date by when you want them to act or decide.

At the same time, you need enough information to guide your way. Note where you have large gaps in information that might hinder your efforts, and make an effort to fill those.
Easy-to-read. Road maps cluttered with confusing icons and technical jargon may become unreadable. Likewise, your political map should be easy to read and understand. It is not intended to be a published, academic paper, but rather a tool for advocates.
Alternative Routes. A good road map shows you multiple routes so you can easily adjust your travel if an unexpected obstacle presents itself. A political map should also outline alternative avenues for reaching your policy objective.
Getting Started
1. Gather your team Developing a political map is usually a collaborative effort, and you should assemble a small team of dedicated, knowledgeable colleagues and partners to help you populate your map. The size of the group will depend on the level of skill, knowledge, and trust existing between you and your partners. You’ll definitely want to ensure that your political mapping team represents your campaign’s core leadership. You may also want to engage a consultant, such as a policy/legal expert or a political insider, to conduct research or help you complete specific sections of

GRSP’s Determining Your Implementation Objective tool can help you and your partners to define your campaign’s implementation objective.
Your team should also agree on the overall purpose of the political map, including how it will be used and who will have access to it. Your political map will likely contain sensitive information that you may not want to become public. You will probably want to share the mapping with the team that is responsible for developing and implementing your overarching campaign plan, but be selective. Ultimately, the entire group will share responsibility for ensuring that sensitive information remains confidential.
3. Determine roles and responsibilities Once you have agreed on your implementation objective, it’s time to determine the roles and responsibilities for completing the mapping process. Appointing a “point person” or “map administrator” who holds overall responsibility for developing and maintaining the political map is a good first step. That person is usually central to the campaign and can then assign team members or outside experts to collect the variety of information required.
Political mapping can be costly. Early on, the team should discuss what financial support and other resources will be necessary to complete the project. If you choose to hire outside policy or legal experts to help, ensure that you have adequate resources in place before you begin.

Political Mapping for Policy Implementation

Completing the political map
It’s now time to complete your political map. Ideally, after conducting research, you’ll complete the map together during a team exercise or workshop setting. During this process, team members can debate, discuss, and develop consensus, which will lead to a shared understanding and a more complete map. If such an exercise is not possible, an alternate option is for one person to compile the map using information gathered by the team members.
Use additional sheets of paper as needed to complete your political map.

Political Map
1. Define the Implementation Objective The implementation objective(s) addresses a key step or steps in the implementation process that your advocacy campaign can achieve. Your objective will set the direction for both your political map and overall implementation campaign plan.

Write your SMART policy objective at the beginning of your political map.

Implementation Objective(s)


Policy Implementation Toolkit

Political Mapping for Policy Implementation

2. Determine the Implementation Process
No matter what your implementation objective is –issuing a regulation, educating the public about the new law, establishing or strengthening a standard, reforming a budget, assessing compliance or some combination – you need to know and understand the appropriate legal and implementation process that can make it a reality.
A general understanding of the policy implementation system in your country will allow you to identify the most relevant process. If you’re unsure, then you may need to make your implementation objective more specific or engage the help of an expert on the policy implementation system, like a policy expert or lawyer, in order to complete this section of your political map.
In some countries, the implementation process is formal and straightforward. In those cases, writing down the implementation process will be fairly simple. In other countries, policy implementation can often involve a number of informal or unofficial steps. As you put together your political mapping team, consider including members who have knowledge of any informal or unofficial steps in the implementation process as these steps can often be difficult to understand.
Relevant Policy Implementation Processes

Policy Implementation Toolkit

Political Mapping for Policy Implementation

3. Identify Government Bodies and Departments
In the next step, you’ll identify the government bodies involved in helping you achieve your implementation objective. They may be executive, ministerial or legislative bodies, standards bureaus, enforcement agencies or some combination. Depending on your implementation objective (particularly if it involves supporting enforcement) and country’s political system, you may also need to consider bodies at multiple levels of governance.

List the relevant government bodies as well as the specific departments or committees that will have a formal role in approving your policy objective.


Government Body

Departments and Committees


SUB-NATIONAL (e.g. provincial, county, district)

Government Body

Departments and Committees

Policy Implementation Toolkit

LOCAL (e.g. city, township) Government Body

Departments and Committees

Political Mapping for Policy Implementation

Policy Implementation Toolkit

4. Outline Rules and Procedure Each government body will have its own set of rules – both formal and informal – for supporting policy implementation. While there’s no need for you to know every detail of the implementation procedure, a basic understanding will help you determine where and how your campaign can provide input into the process.
For each government body previously identified, answer the guiding questions below. Remember to include specific roles and responsibilities of departments or committees. GOVERNMENT BODY: Agenda-Setting and Approvals How are implementation roles and objectives introduced, prioritized and placed on their agenda? How do they approve your implementation objective?
Example: supporting evidence, letters of support, economic analysis 8 What type of documentation must accompany your implementation proposal
Example: supporting evidence, letters of support, economic analysis
What happens after the government body approves the implementation proposal?
What happens if they do not approve the implementation proposal? Is there another body that can override their decision?
Channels for Input In what ways are their meeting processes open and transparent (e.g. notice of meetings provided, open to members of the public, public records available)?
Example: notice of meetings provided, open to members of public, public records available Who has the right or privilege to provide input into the government body? How is this input provided?
Example: topical experts
Example: oral or written testimony, informal meetings or hearings
Is there a public comment period before decisions are taken? When does this occur? What form do comments take?
Who must be notified once a decision is made? How are they notified?

Political Mapping for Policy Implementation

5. Outline the Government Calendar
The implementation process is often characterized by intense activity followed by long periods of little movement, and it’s easy for an implementation campaign to underestimate how slowly government bureaucracies move. While you may not be able to accurately estimate the timeline for most implementation processes, mapping the annual government calendar can provide helpful clues for timing advocacy activities. It can also prepare you for times when events are likely to move quickly and when they might stall.

Calendar items to consider include the beginning and end of government sessions, timing of the annual budgetary cycle, elections, holidays and recesses. Enter those here.








Policy Implementation Toolkit







Political Mapping for Policy Implementation

Policy Implementation Toolkit

6. Identify Decision-Makers The individual policymakers with formal decision-making power during the implementation process are likely to become the primary targets of your advocacy outreach. These could include heads of state, ministers, permanent secretaries, parliamentarians, or heads of enforcement or standards bodies. In bodies where there are many decision-makers, it is helpful to focus on specific individuals who sit on relevant committees, hold leadership positions, or are known as highly influential among their colleagues. When identifying decision-makers, be as specific as possible. Note down names in addition to titles or positions. Government Body: Decision-Makers
Government Body: Decision-Makers
Government Body: Decision-Makers
Government Body: Decision-Makers

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Supporting Tool: Political Mapping For Policy