Evaluating the Impact of Policy Formation on Implementation: The Case of Drinking Water Directive 80/778/EEC

Jenkins, J., University of Hertfordshire, UK


Acknowledging that polices are rarely made in a rational manner does not prevent the researcher from
wanting to understand why particular policy responses were constructed the way they were, and how this
can impact upon implementation (Winter, 2003). This paper explores the suitability of four hypotheses
developed by Winter (2003) to explain the impact of the policy formation stage on the implementation of
public policy. The Drinking Water Directive (80/778/EEC) and its implementation in England/Wales and
the Republic of Ireland provide the background for analysis. It is concluded that the policy formation stage
of the Directive did contribute to the failures and delays of implementation. In particular, failures of
implementation are attributed to conflict, invalid causal theories, political symbolism, and poor attention
by policy makers.

Key Words
Policy formation; implementation; drinking water; Directive 80/778/EEC; England/Wales; and Republic of

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