Our goal is to include service users in all levels of consultation, planning, and decision-making within the organisation. The Department of Social Security (DSS) strives to make client involvement a part of its culture by ensuring that this approach is done consistently, robustly, and meaningfully.
The primary goal of policymaking is to improve the lives of citizens through the identification of client needs and target policy actions as required. Policy makers strive to create policies that bring the public closer to achieving the desired state or public goal. Even if the ideas come from outside the government, the policy is created by public officials, and thus policy making is the process by which the government translates its political vision into programs and actions that achieve the desired ‘outcomes’.
Policy Making Process
The process of developing a policy involves several steps, which are problem identification, policy formulation, decision-making, implementation, and evaluation. Evidence and stakeholder participation are essential for guiding this process and fostering ownership for its eventual implementation. However, whilst policy makers should ensure to incorporate stakeholder feedback, this is always subject to political negotiations and compromises which occur throughout the policy-making process.
Policy Making Cycle
A trust-building policy-making process is founded on informed decisions made with reliable and relevant information that is in the public interest and are carried out with high standards, which include the following steps:
- Problem identification – To assess if there is a case for public policy action, an issue is identified, its underlying causes and needs are examined, and then a conclusion is drawn.
- Identifikazzjoni tal-problema – Biex jiġi vvalutat jekk hemmx każ għal azzjoni ta’ politika pubblika, tiġi identifikata kwistjoni, jiġu eżaminati l-kawżi u l-ħtiġijiet sottostanti tagħha, u mbagħad tinġibed konklużjoni.
- Policy formulation – The formulation of a policy response involves outlining several scenarios that will address the issue and meet the needs and expectations of the affected citizens. Additionally, an options appraisal is carried out, which evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions and is typically based on a cost-benefit analysis.
- Decision-making – The preferred solution is usually chosen at the political or senior management level, after consultation with interested stakeholders who will be directly affected by the outcome, wherever possible.
- Implementation – As management assesses and gauges progress in relation to the plan, the policy is implemented according to agreed action plans and is monitored throughout the entire process.
- Evaluation – Finally, the policy is evaluated, to determine whether it has been successful in addressing the original problem and meeting the needs of those affected citizens.
Participation in Policy Making
The empowerment and participation of service users have become a key element of government policy, and the need to listen and act on the views of service users is an increasingly integral part of the planning and delivery of Social Security.
Service users are at the heart of the DSS’s mission for shaping and improving the delivery of social security. The DSS continuously strives to ensure that clients are empowered and supported to participate in policy-making processes. This statement draws on the key principle of clients’ involvement in policy-making processes.
The term service user also takes account of the diversity of people in our society whether defined by age, colour, race, ethnicity or nationality, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation and may have different needs and concerns.
The DSS is committed to ensure service user involvement is both meaningful and successful and will make resources available to support the participation of service users throughout the policy-making processes. Ultimately, service user involvement in policymaking ensures better service accessibility and quality of service.
User Involvement in the Policy-Making Process
The DSS aims to develop policies that respond to individuals’ needs and are relevant to their circumstances. Service user involvement in policy making process is aimed to:
- Ensure there is a consistent approach to service user involvement in policy-making processes.
- Promote service user involvement as an integrated component of organisational policy-making processes.
- Enable service users to have a key role in the policy-making processes.
Consultation is about seeking the views of those outside the decision-making process to better inform that process. Consultation is not intended to be a substitute for decision-making but reflects the fact that the decision-making process benefits from having the widest range of views and fullest information on a particular issue. The two main methods of consultation include written consultations and online consultations.
The Three Phases of Public Consultation
- Open Consultation – At this stage, the public is requested to submit feedback.
- Closed Consultation – At this stage all the feedback received will be filtered through the moderation process.
- Publication of Feedback and Outcome Report – This is the final stage where the public consultation has concluded. At this stage, the selected feedback and a detailed report of the outcome are published and made available to the public.
The DSS, which is part of the Ministry of Social Policy and Children’s Rights, operates in the spirit of open and transparent governance and encourages the public, civil society, organisations, trade unions, business organisations, political parties, governmental institutions, and all others that would like to contribute to participate in the process of public consultation online. Click here to see our active consultations.
You can also subscribe to be notified by email of our active consultations.