Demystifying Policy

lsdjWhat 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.

How to get involved at Pivotal!

6. Vote

● 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.

3. Innovative:

● 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.

4. Inclusive:

● 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.