Evaluating the impact of policy formation on implementation: the case of the Drinking Water Directive (80/778/EEC)
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.