What is policy making?
This is the process which enables governments and political institutions to make decisions regarding for what purpose and how resources are allocated across a population.
Typically, programmes and legislation support the implementation and execution of policies.
What does policymaking look like?
Policy outcomes take numerous forms ranging from:
◌ Inaction which maintains the prevailing norm
◌ Revising current policies and introducing new measures
◌ Encouraging behavioural change through a public awareness campaign.
How to get involved in policy?
1. Stay informed-
● Keep up-to-date on issues that are important to you and follow up on policies that interest you.
● For example, following a couple of stories in an area of interest can help you develop a broader understanding of the topic.
2. Think local-
● Keep up with local developments and be active in community issues.
● Get to know who your local councillors, MLAs, and MPs are and contact them if you wish to raise any concerns.
3. Community involvement-
● Small acts can make a big difference in your local area.
● You can make connections with groups that need your help, learn about issues that are directly affecting your community, and meet like-minded people who are passionate like you.
4. Explore your passions-
● Prioritise issues and interests that are most important to you and your community.
● This can take numerous forms, such as reading multiple newspaper articles, deciphering complicated legislation, attending events, and volunteering.
5. Get involved in organisations with a collective purpose-
● These organisations may use their collective voice to change public thinking and/or lobby for policy change, such as educational outcomes for children, racial equality, and women’s rights.
● It is possible to interact with these organisation in-person and online by providing your opinion on their work, along with helping to share their work and advocacy.
● Make sure to exercise your right to vote if possible, by voting in local and national elections, along with referendums.
What are features of good policymaking?
1. Evidence Based:
● Credible evidence from a variety of sources should inform the decisions and actions of policymakers, as opposed to ideology or political motivations.
● The evidence used must be made widely available to the public.
2. Future Focused:
● Policy proposals must do more than just tackle immediate issues and instead aim to create meaningful long-term changes.
● Statistical trends and informed predictions of social, political, economic, and cultural trends should be used as evidence when discussing the future viability of a policy.
● The process of pursuing policy change should openly encourage imaginative solutions that will cater to the needs of today’s society whilst considering the future needs of subsequent generations.
● Thus, new measures must help society consider different ways of addressing problems while making current avenues of enacting change more efficient.
● It’s crucial to involve those who will be affected by the policy (service users) along with those responsible for implementing it (service providers) in decision-making processes.
● The views and needs of the community, business leaders, and other stakeholders are placed at the core of conversations regarding policy changes.
5. Impact & Evaluation:
● During the drafting process, a system of continually analysing the effectiveness of the policy must be incorporated.
● Success criteria regarding the aims and goals of the policy must be adopted in order to adequately evaluate its effectiveness.
6. Value for Money:
● Policymakers must be accountable for public spending to ensure that any resources are well spent, of a high quality, and within budgetary limits to not affect the delivery of other services.