Policy is a planned system of rules to guide actions and attain reasonable results. A policy is an unambiguous statement of purpose, which is formally implemented as a written procedure or code. Most policies are formally adopted by an administrative authority in an organisation. However, there can be a variety of informal practices that formalise policy in organisations. While the formal adoption process of a policy may consume significant time, informal processes allow decision-making to occur much more rapidly and effectively, while also potentially being more flexible in scope.
In contrast to more formal systems of government, policy-making is undertaken by accountable individuals rather than organs of a bureaucracy. This means that the process needs to provide a transparently public record of decision-making, which is often absent from more formal systems of governance. The formal adoption of public policy usually occurs after the adoption of the requisite legislation. Policy-making then requires two elements: the decision to formalise a system and the actual formulation of public policy. Policy-making in international affairs is governed by specific processes that have been identified through the use of different approaches, including international political science, public policy, diplomacy, international business, international development, and diplomacy, just to name a few. In some instances, the development of specific frameworks also contributes to the process of decision-making.
The use of various approaches in international politics has led some experts to identify a number of distinct phases that contribute to the policy implementation process. These include the planning stage, the formulation of national and regional policy, dealing with foreign partners, the policy negotiation process, the implementation stage, monitoring and tracking, and finally, the maintenance phase. The planning stage is perhaps the most important, as it lays the foundation for the policies to be implemented. In this stage, it is important for states to consider their strategic interests and formulate a framework that will ensure these interests are met. This framework should include aspects such as national security, economic stability, and political stability.
The formulation of national and regional policy can involve a number of processes, including the development of strategies and documents, selecting the instruments to be used, collecting and analyzing information, developing a platform for public discussion, drafting laws that regulate the policies, information on the procedures that must be followed, and finally, the determination of the procedures to be applied. Decisions and actions related to the implementation of these policies may involve the selection of staff to carry out the procedures, information about the financial resources required, and the overall management of the project. In order for these policies to be successful, they are likely to have to be adopted as an executive agreement or a compact.
Creating and following executive agreements is necessary for the implementation of certain policies, as this establishes the fact that the government has a certain way of operating and a certain way of determining policy. Similarly, the implementation of certain policies can be linked to the creation and release of certain documents. On the other hand, developing and implementing a compact on behalf of the government can help link the procedures to the development of policies. These are the two major processes involved in developing and implementing a government policy. It is also important for governments to remember that the formation of the constitution of a country is not an independent procedure, but is contingent upon the government policies that have been agreed upon.
In conclusion, the principles that govern the creation and management of government policies will continue to evolve in a technologically and rapidly changing environment. While a particular policy statement may appear unimportant now, tomorrow it may be a completely different matter. To illustrate, an organization that has adopted the principles of a social contract may find that its members do not have a positive relationship with each other and the organization does not enjoy the support of stakeholders.