Assessing policy success and failure: targets, aims and processes

Philip Begley, Catherine Bochel, Hugh Bochel, Andrew Defty, Jan Gordon, Kaisa Hinkkainen, Ben Kisby*, Steve McKay, Gerard Strange

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Assessing policy success and failure is a significant challenge. This article seeks to address this by utilizing two case studies of legislation from the United Kingdom Parliament, the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and the Academies Act 2010, so as to develop a nuanced understanding of how and in what ways policies have been successful, or otherwise. Drawing on these two case studies, and the work of a variety of authors, the article illustrates the complex nature of the challenge, but suggests that by identifying “targets”, “aims” and “processes” it is possible to make reasonable judgements about the relative success of a policy. It concludes that this framework therefore has considerable potential utility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-204
Number of pages17
JournalPolicy Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019


  • evidence
  • legislation
  • policy failure
  • Policy success
  • UK Parliament

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